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The Broad announces Contemporary art acquisitions; 89 works added in the past two years
Ragnar Kjartansson, The Visitors, 2012, nine channel HD video projection.
LOS ANGELES, CA.- As construction proceeds on The Broad, the new contemporary art museum scheduled to open in 2015 on Grand Avenue in Los Angeles, The Broad Art Foundation and the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Collection continue to acquire major works and add new artists to expand upon the representation of cutting edge and provocative contemporary artwork that will be shown in the museum’s soaring galleries.

The two collections have added 89 works in the past two years, taking The Broad’s representation of contemporary art in new directions, said Joanne Heyler, founding director of The Broad and director and chief curator of The Broad Art Foundation. New artists include Ragnar Kjartansson, Yayoi Kusama, Thomas Houseago and Julie Mehretu. Major video and installation works by Reykjavik-based Kjartansson and Tokyo-based Kusama add to the Broad collections two new highly regarded examples of immersive and experiential art. The Houseago and Mehretu acquisitions add two ambitious and large-scale works to the collections. The Broad collections, which for more than 40 years have been building in-depth representations of individual postwar and contemporary artists, also continued deepening their noted and distinguished holdings by Andreas Gursky, William Kentridge, Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha and Cindy Sherman.

“These acquisitions give The Broad’s future visitors a hint of the breadth, depth and diversity of contemporary art they’ll see in our galleries when we open,” said Heyler. “Not only do our additions vary widely in types of media, but they also represent a variety of international viewpoints–often strongly engaged socially and politically--and they represent artists old and young making their strongest works. We are pleased to present these signal achievements to our future audience in Los Angeles as well as offer them for loan to other institutions through our longstanding program of lending to museums around the world.”

“After all these years, Edye and I still delight in discovering a new artist and in seeing and experiencing groundbreaking artwork for the first time,” Broad said. “It is what has driven us for so long to build a public collection, because we want to share this art and these artists with audiences around the world. And now we find even greater joy when we imagine visitors to The Broad responding to these artworks.”

That eye toward visitor engagement led to the acquisition of Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013, by Yayoi Kusama, an immersive work comprising a mirror-lined chamber housing a dazzling, and seemingly endless, LED light display; The Visitors, 2012, by Ragnar Kjartansson, a nine-screen, 360-degree video installation that features a virtuosic, hour-long film of nine different musicians performing a piece of music within a derelict historic mansion; and The Refusal of Time, 2012, by William Kentridge, a sculptural installation that includes a wooden machine representing a 19th-century “time pump” and five animated films telling the story of a French anarchist and his failed plot to blow up the Greenwich Observatory.

The works will be showcased in the new Broad museum, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, which will feature more than 50,000-square-feet of gallery space on two floors, including a sky-lit, column-free gallery that spans a full acre.

Other recently acquired large-scale works include Beloved (Cairo), 2013, by Julie Mehretu, a swirling, vertiginous representation of the architecture, atmosphere and social dynamism of the Egyptian capital, rendered in ink and acrylic on a canvas that is some 24 feet wide; El Anatsui’s Red Block, 2010, a vast, mural-sized fabric woven in the artist’s signature method from discarded bottle tops and copper wire; Takashi Murakami’s DOB in the Strange Forest (Blue DOB), 1999, a large sculpture commenting on the complexity of contemporary Japanese culture and one of the most important works in the artist’s career; Giant Figure (Cyclops), 2011, by Thomas Houseago, a simultaneously daunting and funny bronze sculpture that looms more than 14 feet tall; and The Palmetto Libretto (part two of a multi-part work. This one’s a sketch for an American comic opera with shipwreck and cargo), 2012, by Kara Walker, a large drawing depicting the wreck of a slave ship.

A hallmark of the Broad collections is their deep holdings of a significant number of contemporary artists, often representing the full breadth of an artist’s career. With more than three dozen works by Ed Ruscha, the collections recently added several more pieces, including a rare and important early painting on board, Honk (Cracker Jack), 1962. Two new monumental photographs by Andreas Gursky, Bangkok II, 2011, and Kuwait Stock Exchange II, 2008, bring the artist’s works in the collections to 19. Recent acquisitions of works by Cindy Sherman, who is represented by more than 120 pieces to date, include the series Murder Mystery, 1976, among the earliest in the artist’s career. Other significant additions of early works by artists who have been collected in-depth include an untitled painting by Cy Twombly from 1953; and an historically significant Ellsworth Kelly painting, Green Blue Red, from 1963. The collections, which have the largest representation in the world of the work of Jeff Koons, have added several more pieces, including a polychrome wood sculpture from the Banality series, Metallic Venus (2010 – 2012), Buster Keaton, 1988, and Gazing Ball (Farnese Hercules) and Gazing Ball (Mailboxes), both 2013.

Details of The Broad’s inaugural installation, which will feature works drawn from the two collections, will be announced closer to the opening in 2015.

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