I finally had a chance to check out LACMA's new building devoted to modern art. The Broad Contemporary Art Museum opened to less than favorable reviews, but for someone like me who had never had a chance to witness these famous works up close, I was glad that they made this.
The BCAM comes from the collection of Eli and Edythe Broad, who have collected famous works from a selective group of artists for the last forty years. Among those artists are Andy Warhol, Mike Kelley, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman and recent Academy Award nominee, Julian Schnabel.
The architecture of the building is pretty amazing. The elevator shaft that runs through the entire three-story building is an installment in itself, courtesy of Barbara Kruger's still unfinished piece. The museum devotes the entire first floor to Richard Serra's sculptures. Band and Sequence are two separate metal sculptures that are fifteen feet in height and took over two and half years to create. Walking through them, I had the feeling I was a few centimeters tall walking through a maze of ribbon.
I am by no means an expert in modern art but I can see why BCAM has created uproar in certain art circles. For one, the art collected by the Broads is limited, no matter how groundbreaking it is. There are many great contemporary artists whose art has had more influence in society that are not included simply because the Broads aren't collectors of their work. Also, the artists are limited to just American artists, which limits the scope of contemporary art of the last forty years even further. Still, to be able see the work of these great artists up-close makes me think how much these artists have influence culture, advertising and how we view everyday life.
LACMA has a sliding scale of admission after five p.m. You can pay a dollar or you can pay one hundred dollars, if you are so inclined. Despite the bargain (if you choose to pay on the lower end of the scale like I did), the museum closes at seven p.m. and you need at least three hours to check out the museum in depth.