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The Broad, LA's newest contemporary art museum, to offer free general admission
Third-floor gallery showing potential for large-scale installations like Robert Therrien’s Under the Table; image courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Broad, Los Angeles’s newest contemporary art museum on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, will offer free general admission when it opens in late 2014, founders Eli and Edythe Broad announced today.

At a hard hat tour and preview of the museum, the Broads were joined by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in announcing that the inaugural exhibition and permanent collection will be open to the public at no charge.

“It has long been our goal to ensure that the contemporary artworks in the Broad collections are seen by the broadest possible public,” said Eli Broad. “We believe that free general admission to The Broad will help draw visitors to all of the cultural institutions along Grand Avenue.”

Following its inaugural exhibition, The Broad will occasionally present ticketed special exhibitions and will offer discounts to those exhibitions to MOCA members.

“On behalf of all Angelenos, I’d like to thank Eli and Edye Broad for their generosity,” said Garcetti. “Not only are they giving our city a 2,000-piece collection of contemporary art, an architecturally distinct museum, they are now ensuring that anyone who wants to visit has access. It is exciting to anticipate the contribution this new institution will make to the cultural and economic vitality of Grand Avenue when it opens in 2014.”

Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, The Broad will feature a third-floor gallery boasting nearly an acre of column-free space to display artworks from the 2,000-work Broad collections. In addition, the first-floor lobby includes a gallery for special exhibitions, bringing the total gallery space in the museum to more than 50,000 square feet.

In addition to the public galleries, The Broad will be the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation, a lending library of contemporary art created by the Broads in 1984. Since then, The Broad Art Foundation has made more than 8,000 loans of artwork to some 500 museums and galleries around the world.

With its innovative “vault-and-veil” concept, The Broad is custom-designed to house and present the works in Eli and Edythe Broad’s personal and foundation collections, assembled over the past four decades with the aim of making them a resource for the public and a centerpiece attraction for a region of 15 million people.

The museum’s design showcases the dual responsibilities a collector and a museum have to both display and preserve art. Architect Liz Diller describes the “veil” exterior skin as a porous exoskeleton that admits filtered natural daylight into the third-floor galleries through the Grand Avenue elevation and from the skylight above. Rather than being hidden away as in most museums, curatorial functions are made central to The Broad, where the impressive mass of the second-floor vault seems to hover in the middle of the building. The vault’s carved underside shapes the lobby below. Its top surface creates the floor of the third-floor exhibition space.

Visitors will travel up a 102-foot escalator, through the second-floor vault that houses the vast store of artworks in the Broad collections, and emerge into the third-floor gallery that features 23-foot ceilings and 318 skylights that filter in diffused sunlight. Visitors will exit the gallery by a glass-enclosed stair that will offer glimpses into the second-floor storage, giving a hint of the artworks that may be displayed in future exhibitions.

The exterior “veil” will be comprised of 2,500 fiberglass reinforced concrete panels and 650 tons of steel. Installation of the veil exterior is expected to begin next spring.

The $140 million museum has generated more than 1,000 jobs and is being built entirely with union labor.

In addition, the Broads are building an adjacent public plaza and widening the sidewalks along Grand Avenue. At the request of the Community Redevelopment Agency, they built a three-story parking garage beneath the museum that will be operated by the city. Including the garage and public plaza, the total project is expected to be nearly $195 million. In addition to paying for the building, the Broads are funding the museum with a $200 million endowment.

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