El Segundo High School

The Broad museum in downtown Los Angeles


ligon_double_americaAs an Angelino, I try to explore the treasures our city has to offer. So, last Friday afternoon, my mom and I set out for The Broad museum.

As a lover of art, I was extremely excited to view this museum that has all of the buzz lately. My excitement dimmed as we traversed Friday afternoon freeways on the July 4 holiday weekend. But, the moment we arrived I realized it was worth the drive.

The Broad is a contemporary art museum in downtown Los Angeles, but my mother described it as a more modern art museum, which I agreed. The architecture was a modern architectural masterpiece, and it housed pieces that were colorful, unusual, and exciting. The museum was named after Eli Broad, a philanthropist. It holds about 2,000 pieces of art, from about 200 artists.

The museum is free, but you have to reserved tickets in advance, or wait in a public line in hopes of getting in. As we had not reserved tickets, which book out about two months in advance, we found another method to gain entrance. For $12, an adult you can book the special exhibit which comes with general admission; and, the best part of this method was that if you are under 18 the $12 is waived.

When I visited, the special exhibition was the “Cindy Sherman Imitation of Life” exhibit, showing June 11 – October 2. Sherman mostly photographs herself and works alone, creating some of the most influential pieces of our time. She disrupts the assumptions society has about beauty. There was a somewhat narcissistic nature to her work, which I interpret as intentional.

After seeing the Sherman exhibit, we went to the third floor to view the rest of the pieces. To get there, we took an elevator, that itself was a masterpiece. The architecture of the elevator was beautiful. It looked very modern and cylindrical; having just taken an elevator at the Eiffel Tower a week earlier, it struck we as a modern interpretation of the same architecture.

One of the most interesting pieces was the giant dining table and chairs entitled “Under the Table,” by Robert Therrien. I would estimate they were about 15-feet tall. It was interesting to see such mundane, average things in a larger size and imagine how you would use these everyday pieces when reformatted.

Speaking of oversized, there was one sculpture of a women called “Fall ’91,” by Charles Ray, of a 15-foot tall woman in a pink power suit. The sculpture was supposed to make you “uncomfortable.”

We spent the most time observing another interesting piece, Kara Walker’s “African’t.” It included what seemed to be innocent cut outs of people portrayed as black shadows on a white background, where the walls of the museum were the white and the shadow story was told in frames all around the room. However, the closer you looked, the more disturbing it was. They were all scenes of pre-Civil War degradation, sex, and violence; it was perverse and disturbing, perhaps exactly what one should think of when they think of pre-Civil War slavery.

One of my favorite pieces (the picture in this article) was a sculpture by Glenn Ligon

Entitled “Double America 2.” It said America twice, once upside down and its light’s flickered.

Of course, there are a plethora of pieces by the very talented Jeff Koons, including a collection of mirror-polished stainless steel with transparent color coating pieces, the most iconic of which is entitled “Tulips.” In its entirety, looking around, you just felt like you were surrounded by beauty and creativity.

When we left the museum, we found two fabulous restaurants adjacent to the museum, and an even more fabulous green lawn for lounging, playing and perhaps even a picnic. Such a nice place to end a free day at one of the most interesting museums in Los Angeles.