Billionaire art-collector Eli Broad unveiled plans last Thursday for the porous-concrete-shelled structure that will house his 2,000-piece art collection and provide an anticipated catalyst for downtown’s halting renaissance.
The Broad Art Foundation features a three-story layout designed by New York-based firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and consists of a spongelike mantle that lets light into the 40,000-square feet of gallery space, which itself sits atop a vast storage vault.
The $130-million art museum’s construction is scheduled to begin in late summer, with the galleries welcoming their first visitors in early 2013. The price includes a parking lot that the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency will buy from the foundation for up to $30 million and operate after its completion.
The museum is being built on a 2.5-acre parcel of county-owned land originally set aside as part of a stalled $3 billion shopping, hotel and condo complex known as the Grand Avenue project.
Broad has said the museum’s initial exhibit will include a broad selection of works from his collection, including pieces by Jeff Koons, John Baldassari and Cindy Sherman. For the first three years, it will rotate its exhibitions every four months to focus on artist that are well represented in the collection, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst and Roy Lichtenstein.
Art not on view will be housed in the storage area at the museum’s core, which visitors will be able to see through windows placed along a stairwell leading down from the top-floor gallery area.
Under the deal for the land, Broad’s foundation agreed to pay $7.7 million over the course of a 99-year-lease. The 77-year-old Broad, whose net worth Forbes Magazine identified last year at $5.8 billion, also pledged to fund the museum with a $200 million endowment.