It was a Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles and we had been strolling around for hours in the August heat. After a wood fired pizza in the Grand Central Market we spotted a pretty large queue emerging outside an unusual shaped building, I thought ‘this could only be The Broad.’
As a true Brit, I couldn’t help but join the queue and see what all the fuss was about. Entry was FREE (we soon came to realise that after 5pm on Thursday’s, a lot of museums and galleries in the L.A area are free. So naturally after The Broad, we visited a couple of others as well.)
The Broad is a contemporary art museum on Grand Avenue in the Downtown area, it’s hard to miss as the building is a piece of art in its self. The building was financed by Eli Broad, setting him back a cool 140 million dollars. Most of the gallery is made up of permanent collections and although this takes away the hurry for people to go, once you find out the array of famous pieces inside, you’d be mad not to place The Broad on your bucket list.
We were soon at the front of the queue and heading into ‘The Visitors’ by Ragnar Kjartansson. I’m going to struggle to put into words how special this was to see in person, my boyfriend and I were blown away. You are ushered into a pitch-black room and you’re met by several different screens. These screens are placed onto huge walls and you watch a piece of music come to life before your eyes. The idea behind this piece is to show how a song is created, but the difference with this recording is that each band member is in a separate room in a country mansion. In the kitchen you will find the drummer counting his beats; in the bedroom the guitarist waiting for his solo and Kjartansson himself in the bath producing his haunting harmonies. The piece lasts for over an hour and we couldn’t help but stay until the end.
Awestruck by what we had just seen, we headed into the next exhibits which consisted of several rooms with bright white walls, showing off huge canvas works. The Broad had a couple of neon light pieces, stating words that were placed in thoughtful positions to make you think. Over on our Instagram page I posted a few pieces that stood out to me most.
When I was taking Art as a GCSE (a good few years ago now) my main influences were Andy Warhol and Roy Litchenstein, my sketchbooks were filled with my own versions of famous Pop Art pieces. You can imagine my surprise and elation, then, when I stumbled across many famous pieces of both of their works respectively, right here in The Broad! Seeing the famous Pop Art pairs work in person really has been a highlight of our America trip so far. I was stunned by the size of their pieces, having only even seen photographs of their work I never imaged them to fill large walls. I won’t be forgetting my visit in a hurry.
I was impressed by how well thought-out the placing of each piece was, some large pieces sat in the centre of rooms so you could walk around them and see every small detail. I loved reading about each piece, I took some photographs of the write ups so that I could find out more about certain pieces when I left.
Finally, I’d like to say that this place is the most Instagram worthy museum I have ever visited. Some may say it can take away from the experience, constantly spotting people grabbing selfies but to me it just showed how art is ‘cool’ and is still a huge deal online and in ‘real life’.
If you’re looking to attend then I highly advise you book ahead so that you can visit the 'Infinity Mirrored Room’ as we weren’t able to visit that, the wait was more than 3 hours. We’ve heard great things about it and it looked spectacular from a distance.
I hope this has been interesting for you to read, if you have visited The Broad or intend to, please leave a comment.
- All images of artworks at The Broad taken by Jessie Crook.
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