Tuesday, February 26, 2008
I finally had a chance to hit B-Cam, (Broad Contemporary Art Museum) the 72,000 square foot space designed by Renzo Piano. Filled with works collected by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, B-Cam just opened this month.
Approaching LACMA's new public spaces is a bit overwhelming, and I found that the feeling does not go away while you are there. The south plaza is illuminated by Chris Burden's Urban Light; Charles Ray's Fire Truck sits in the north plaza; Jeff Koon's Tulips dominates the center of the BP Grand Entrance, and of course, Renzo Piano's signature "Renzo red" is omnipresent at every turn.
Once inside, B-Cam surprised me with it's thoroughness of contemporary art from the last four decades. The Broads are said to collect monographically--they have 28 major works by Warhol, 17 sculptures by Jeff Koons, 115 photographs by Cindy Sherman--many of which are on display in B-Cam.
It is recommended to enter the collection via the open-air "spider" escalator which brings you to the dramatic third-floor entry, and then work your way down. Yes, there are major works that we're all familiar with--the Warhol soup can, the JFK Rauschenberg, The Jasper Johns American flag--but what I enjoyed most, was the art that was lesser well-known yet marvelous, like this black and white Lichtenstein.
There are two huge loft-like galleries on each floor. Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, Roy Lichtenstein, Ellsworth Kelly, and Ed Ruscha are represented in the first gallery, where some of the earliest paintings in the Broad Collections date back to the mid-1950s.
The second section on the third floor is primarily composed of works by Andy Warhol, John Baldessari, and Jeff Koons (his blue Baloon Dog is probably my favorite piece in the collection).
The second floor is devoted to Robert Longo, Jack Goldstein, David Salle, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Eric Fischl, Leon Golub, Jenny Holzer, Chris Burden, Mike Kelley, Damien Hirst, and an impressively immense collection of Cindy Sherman photographs. I have never seen so much of her work in one place.
Sherman's photos are hung next to an adjoining room filled with Robert Therrien's gigantic ten foot tall, twenty-six foot long table and chairs; altogether the feeling is awe-inspiring.
The first floor is occupied by two huge Richard Serra sculptures. After going through B-cam as thoroughly as I could, I finally concluded that I need to go back many more times to fully take it all in.
If you are in Los Angeles and looking to be inspired, B-Cam at Los Angeles County Art Museum is located at 5905 Wilshire Boulevard.