Field Trip: The Broad

The BroadWhy, you might be asking, is a blog about Tribeca featuring a new museum in L.A.? On one hand, valid question. On the other hand, Adam and I realized far too late that timed entry to The Broad is completely reserved through May, so I had to beg the media office for a press pass (in exchange for coverage) because the museum was the lone activity we had planned to do while in the city. And on the third hand, as I pointed out to the media rep, Tribecans are among the likeliest New Yorkers to have heard about the Broad and to care about it.

Finally, the museum was fantastic. I’m not saying that out of any sense of obligation; I certainly didn’t promise positive coverage.

The biomorphic building, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is part of the draw. I’m a little iffy on the exoskeleton (except as it appears in the ceiling), but the bulbous landscaping along the sidewalk, the undulating lobby, the escalator that rises through a nostril, the pneumatic tube–like elevator, and the stairwell with peephole into the Broads’ jaw-dropping art warehouse were definite winners. Instagram bait, sure, but also characteristics that combined to make you feel you were somewhere distinct and different. Here are a bunch of architectural photos; do stick around for the art.

The Broad grass boobs2 The Broad grass boobsThe Broad lobbyThe Broad escalator3The Broad escalator2The Broad staircase from topThe Broad warehouse peepholeThe Broad art warehouseThe Broad elevator viewThe Broad at twilightThe galleries are on the ground and top floors, with offices and that bonkers art warehouse sandwiched between. We started at the top, and the first work I saw as I came up the escalator was a huge Jeff Koons sculpture of tulips. It was inauspicious. But after a few galleries—and a few too many oversize-objects-as-art (giant stack of dishes, giant tables and chairs, giant balloon toys, and so on)—everything began to gel. Eli and Edythe Broad clearly love art with all their money, and at times the opening exhibit can feel as if they wheeled a massive supermarket cart (great idea for a sculpture as a statement on our consumerist society!) from gallery to gallery, saying “I’ll take three” of every major artist of the past fifty years: Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Ellsworth Kelly, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Ed Ruscha, Barbara Kruger, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Andreas Gursky, Thomas Struth, John Currin, Kara Walker…. To say that’s the tip of the iceberg is no understatement; the collection, and by extension the museum, is major.

P.S. The name rhymes with road.

Here are nine works I loved, starting with Norm’s, La Cienega, on Fire by Ed Ruscha, 1964:

Ed Ruscha Norms on Fire The BroadTote Hosen by Andreas Gursky, 2000:

Andreas Gursky concert The BroadMirror #1 by Roy Lichtenstein, 1969:

Roy Lichtenstein mirror The BroadFall ’91 by Charles Ray, 1992:

Charles Ray woman The BroadRed Block by El Anatsui, 2010:

El Anatsui tapestry The BroadThe Rose (V) by Cy Twombly, 2008 (I actually preferred his Nini’s Painting (Rome), but I forgot to take a photo of it):

Cy Twombly The RoseWhat’s What by Richard Prince, 1989:

Richard Prince car hood The BroadUntitled (Dancing Black Butterflies) by Mark Grotjahn, 2007:

Mark Grotjahn Untitled Dancing Black Butterflies The BroadLast but not least, there was possibly the only video installation I’ve ever enjoyed, Ragnar Kjartansson’s The Visitors from 2012. The shot below can’t possibly capture it, so I’ve included a description from the Broad’s website, too. And I wish I could buy or at least stream the audio!

Ragnar Kjartansson The Visitors The BroadThe Visitors, 2012, features nine musicians repeating the same lyrics in various rooms at Rokeby farm in upstate New York, a decaying nineteenth-century mansion known for its romantic setting and gloomy charm. Each performer uses different instruments and plays the lyrics in their own deeply felt ways as a camera pans through the house in one long, extremely impressive sixty-four-minute take. The screens in the gallery project all at once, resulting in a collective experience for the viewer. Together, the videos create what critic Hilarie M. Sheets calls an “entirely absorbing ensemble piece that was alternately tragic and joyful, meditative and clamorous, and that swelled in feeling from melancholic fugue to redemptive gospel choir.”

Previous Field Trip posts:
Crown Heights
Spuyten Duyvil
New York Botanical Garden
The New Whitney Museum
The Rockaways
S-Cruise by Smartboat
Wave Hill
Governors Island
F.D.R. Four Freedoms Park
Litchfield County, Conn.
One Wall Street
Behind the Scenes at Grand Central Terminal
The Howard/Crosby Microneighborhood
Federal Reserve Bank of New York
East River Ferry
Museum of American Finance



  1. Thank you so much for this! The line last month was just ridiculous for day visitors without a reserved ticket and I couldn’t wait. Now I REALLY want to see it!

  2. Most museums I can think of display at least some works that are much more interesting than the building itself. This LA building seems much more intense and energetic than the paintings/sculptures that you show displayed. Perhaps this museum should borrow from elsewhere, Chicago for instance. Or Tribeca.