What’s more exciting: the opening (finally!) of BCAM or the return of parking at LACMA, which “hosts” the museum of Eli Broad’s collection, to which – despite the museum having he and his wife’s name – Broad has agreed not to donate his collection? If this doesn’t make complete sense, join the investigative art journalists.
Regardless of this political/artistic subtext at play, within work of architect Renzo Piano is a stunning collection of 176 pieces, by 28 contemporary artists mostly collected by the Broads.
The London Times calls the museum “the distilled essence of contemporary American art,” and it’s difficult to disagree: stepping off the elevators of the third floor (where you begin) from a shaft decorated with typical inflammatory Barbara Kruger statements (“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stomping on a human face, forever.”), you arrive face to snout with Jeff Koons’ monstrous Balloon Dog (Blue), which, though it resembles a clown’s schnauzer helium balloon creation, is made of stainless steel.
Beyond is the icon of the advertising campaign (“BCAM BORN”), Koons’ Cracked Egg (Red), which reflects back the endless visitors (reservations are required) and serrated ceiling – which you can view from the outside – that instantly cements (err … travertines) BCAM as one of Los Angeles’ most important cultural institutions.
BCAM is a nearly complete, three-dimensional textbook of contemporary art: Warhols, Baldessaris, Rauschenbergs, Shermans, Ruschas, Basquiats, Hirsts (he’s the one who puts animals in large tanks) and Lichtensteins infuse the museum with an infectious vibrancy. See it while it’s contemporary – these are the classics of the future. Yes, even Koons’ golden Michael Jackson and Bubbles.
NEXT WEEK: THE ARCHITECTURE
LACMA is located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, visit www.lacma.org.