Broad Expands, Backed by Billion-Dollar Endowment

Rendering of expanded Broad. (c)Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Rendering by Plomp

The Broad has announced a 55,000-sf expansion to its downtown building. The story's buried lede is that the Broad endowment now stands at close to $1 billion. That's far more than the $200 million endowment Eli Broad promised in 2011.

The planned expansion by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the original architects, is a concrete-clad structure adjacent to the older building, increasing gallery space by 70 percent. There will be galleries on all three floors of the new building; two outdoor courtyards on the top floor; space for performances and other public programs; and the ability to walk through an art-storage "vault." A covered plaza will welcome visitors from the Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill Metro station. The project's cost is put at $100 million, with construction expected to begin early next year.

Amy Sherald, Kingdom, 2022. The Broad
Does the Broad need more space? It's true that the Broad's collection has continued to grow since Eli Broad's death. (Newly on view is a great Amy Sherald acquired last year.) That said, the Broad is already good-sized for a privately funded art museum. Its 50,000 sf of exhibition space is about the size of the Whitney in New York. Note that the Broad has about 2000 works, while the Whitney has over 26,000. A 70 percent expansion would increase the Broad's space to 85,000 sf. 

Director Joanne Heller cites the Broad's popularity as a reason for the expansion. Last year the Broad had 896,000 visitors. That's 3.6 times the 250,000 that had been expected when the building was designed. 

Yet another reason is going largely unsaid: money. Robin Pogrebin's New York Times write-up says that the building and collection will be financed by "an endowment that currently amounts to approximately $1 billion."

Eli Broad's promise of a $200 million endowment was enough to make the Broad the second wealthiest L.A. museum after the Getty. As far as I can tell, there were no further announcements about the endowment or Broad's estate planning after his April 2021 death. A ~$1 billion endowment would rank with the biggest arts bequests in L.A. history.

In short, the Broad is expanding because it can afford it. 

Rendering of expansion, with current building at right. (c)Diller Scofidio + Renfro


Anonymous said…
That space to the west of the original building has always puzzled me. When the connector transit line was completed last year - with its station's bridge going straight to the west side of the Broad - I assumed the top of what's a parking structure would be fixed up. But it still remained a big concrete pad.

Since 2015, I hoped it was going to be, or should have been, an outdoor sculpture garden. But then I wondered if it was controlled not by the Broad but instead by the city. So that the area was possibly set aside for a future residential or commercial project. So this is unexpected news.

However, the Broad still could use an outdoor space for displaying large sculptures, but additional gallery space will be more satisfying to the visitor. By contrast, MOCA across the street suffers because it's too much of a brief-in-out experience. It's unfortunate too since if its Geffen Contemporary wing a few miles to the east were sitting right next to the main building on Grand Ave, it would help resolve some of that.

As for the past 5-10 years, the Marciano Foundation's museum in 2016 in Millard Sheet's Masonic Temple building in mid-Wilshire closing in 2019 has been another type of unexpected news.

With the Lucas Museum, LACMA's Zumthor-Govan building and now this, there's some interesting changes occurring over the next 5 years.
What a jewel-box of an add-on. I can't decide which of the spaces is cooler, the old or the new. Together, they're a triumph.
Why can't New York do good things any more? So disconcerting.
The New Museum is all right, but it's nothing approaching Broad.
Anonymous said…
I imagine theyll finance the building. If it’s a 20 year loan at a 5% interest, it should be around $7 million a year to pay for the new building. Their annual budget should be between 30 million and 40 million based on the endowment income. So that should leave $10-$20 million a year on acquisitions. They won’t be able to buy pre-1980 masterpieces, but they’ll be able to continue to buy some of the best work being made by contemporary artists for years to come.
Anonymous said…
> Why can't New York do good things
> any more?

The town that over the past 30-40 years has done an amount of expansion and development of its art scene that blows me away is France's capital. Paris since the 1970s contains way more than merely its grand, gargantuan, old-time Louvre.

Paris in Western Europe is to the cultural scene what mass-produced amusement parks are to Orlando in North America.
Anonymous said…
Artful choice to expand by turning the original building idea inside-out.

It's sort of what DS+R do in all their recent work, but here it took two buildings to do what they usually do in one building.

... Still have to see how DS+R handle the transition between the old and new building.

On the top floor, will they use the outdoor terrace to facilitate the transition between gallery spaces?

How will the loop (up and down) continue from there?

Very promising...

--- J. Garcin

As I understand it, the current building's third floor galleries will connect to the new building's terraces, allowing an outdoor experience in the middle of a visit. Then you would typically traverse the new building top to bottom. But I would imagine (?) you'll be able to do a reverse circuit too, entering via the new building's ground floor—as that's adjacent to the Metro stop. There still aren't that many Metro stations that are right near a cultural attraction and don't leave you wondering which way to go. If they can make that work seamlessly, that would be something.
Anonymous said…
Couldn't a little bit of that 1 Billion endownment go to art education in the public schools, the true fount of the future of contemporary art? or to the art schools themselves?
Anonymous said…
I always wished The Broad and MOCA would combine collections. If they did, it would be one of be the world’s greatest contemporary art collections
Anonymous said…
MOCA is already that without the Broad. It needs a new building and effective management that confidently drive a campaign for that to happen.
Anonymous said…
MOCA has a fantastic collection but their exhibits are way too esoteric and challenging for the general public. Also MOCA's management has always been awful. The museum always seems to have funding issues despite having several billionaires on its board.
Anonymous said…
With the new Lucas museum coming, I feel like we have enough museums in Los Angeles and need to consolidate. Why have over a dozen decent art museums when we could have a few great ones?