The Broad-Simon Connection

Christopher Knight draws interesting connections between Norton Simon and Eli Broad in the Los Angeles Times. Both were renowned Los Angeles collectors. Broad shares

Simon’s flirtations with giving the collection away (at least seven institutions); distrust of traditional museum management; engineering of a bailout of an artistically adventuresome but financially faltering institution (the old Pasadena Museum for Simon, MOCA for Broad); later deciding to open his own museum, and more. […]

Simon had scant interest in contemporary art. Sculptures by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth were about as close as he got. In 1968 he did pay $65,000 for “Cubi XXVIII” by the late American sculptor David Smith.

He sold the masterpiece in 1982 for $1.1 million — a not-uncommon practice in which Simon, acting like a dealer, took a big profit to subsidize other endeavors. Twenty-three years later, Smith’s sculpture went under the hammer at Sotheby’s. Its staggering sale price of $23.8 million set a new benchmark as the most expensive contemporary work then sold at auction. The buyer was Eli Broad.

Eli Broad, Today’s Norton Simon (Los Angeles Times)

Broad Appeal

Now that Eli Broad has declared his museum building intentions, the always-right Christopher Knight has some words of advice for him on how to build his new institution:

As a model for the new Broad, look to Houston’s Menil Collection.

The Menil may be the nation’s most universally admired single-collector art museum. Partly that’s because of a great collection. Mostly, though, the sensibility of the place is distinctive, beautifully embodying the humanist principles of its founders.Continue Reading

Broad Acceptance

Eli Broad has finally ended the guessing game and declared his intention to build his museum in Downtown LA after the project received final approval today:

The 120,000-square-foot museum will cost $80 million to $100 million, Eli and Edythe Broad said today in an e-mailed statement. He will also pay $7.7 million to lease the land, and they will endow the Broad Art Foundation with $200 million to cover its ongoing annual operating expenses.Continue Reading

Get the Art Out

Los Angeles County Museum on Fire takes on the logic behind Eli Broad’s rallying cry that art should be on display but not in storage:

Broad has long struck the quasi-populist note that evil, elitist museum directors are scheming to put art (Broad’s art!) in storage. He’s used this versatile talking point to justify yanking his collection from BCAM and building yet another museum to house it. (The new museum will reportedly be smaller than BCAM: Broad is a man of many paradoxes.) Broad talks as if everything in his 2000-piece collection can and must eventually be on permanent view. The art that’s not in his planned museum will be lent out, notwithstanding the fact that this would require the equivalent of about ten Whitney Museums, sitting empty out in the hinterlands. bThe bottom line is that there is more art than museum space to show it. Thus museum installations, particularly of contemporary art, are ever-changing and (to use the fashionable term) “curated.” What’s so bad about that?

The Puzzling Paradox of Broad’s Basement (Los Angeles County Museum on Fire)

Broad Rent

Mike Boehm reports that Eli Broad has come across with a $7.7m offer for a 99-year lease in Santa Monica, one of the three contending sites for Broad’s new museum:

Broad persuaded Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, the only public official on record opposing his previous request to lease it for a token dollar a year. “We are pleased he has agreed to pay the fair market value on the property,” Antonovich’s spokesman, Tony Bell, said Tuesday. “The supervisor is satisfied. He would support the effort at this point.” […] The $7.7-million offer came as the board of commissioners of the City of Los Angeles’ Community Redevelopment Agency, which owns the land and would need to approve any lease, prepares to take up his museum proposal at its meeting Thursday.Continue Reading

Broad Goes Downtown

Nicolai Ouroussoff fingers downtown LA as the site for Eli Broad’s new museum in the New York Times:

according to several people directly involved in the project, who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak about the matter or have signed confidentiality agreements, Mr. Broad has been pursuing development of the downtown site, next door to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, for several months now.

Early this year the Los Angeles architect Thom Mayne began working on a design for the downtown site at Mr. Broad’s request. Continue Reading