The Broad has recently started using black-out shades on its top-floor ceiling. The change to artificial light is noticeable even when riding up the escalator, looking at the small circle of ceiling ahead. The top floor lighting, once a numinous glow, is now duller.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro (plus engineers and fabricators) obviously put a lot of effort into optimizing the size and shape of the ceiling's baffles so that the galleries could be lighted by natural light
. This was pitched as a major design feature of the "veil." It appears that the Broad has now determined that the overhead light is a little too strong for the collection's long-term good. The current display includes a central room of large Mark Bradford works, and these incorporate collage elements that might be more light-sensitive than typical paintings are. But the blackout extends to the entire top floor ceiling.
This is becoming a pattern, with L.A. museums anyway. LACMA's Resnick Pavilion and the Getty Center's Exhibition Pavilion were also built to supply filtered overhead daylight. In practice, they're now almost always darkened. The takeaway seems to be that (a) So. Cal. daylight is powerful, and (b) installations generally contain some light-sensitive works, which mandate lower lighting for the entire space.
|Mark Bradford's Journal Entry #1-4, 2013, under artificial light|
|The DS+R veil's outside walls are unaffected and still admit natural light. (Shown, Robert Therrien's Under the Table, 1994)|
|The only ceiling window that wasn't blacked out was in a room of Mark Tansey paintings. Maybe someone just forgot to deploy the shade on that window?|
Various types of window coverings will make for a fascinating museum. Similar to all the draperies festooned at the top of the former pre-Columbian galleries desgined by Jorge Pardo.
What is it about Michael Govan, large windows and draperies?
Giovaninni gave us a wealth of fine analysis and it seems it may yet sink in. Buy the director a plane ticket and send him packing.
LACMA needs a new director, if only to help save a public entity that has taken decades to build.