Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Eli Broad Decides to Build His Own Museum

Photo-Eli Broad

Please read article about how major museum donors and collectors like Eli Broad are flipping the coin these days when deciding what to do with their art collections.I guess that is the main problem for art lovers that collect artwork at any level. You love art you want to keep buying but, then you ran out of space. I like Mr. Broad vision of showing all his art collection instead of hiding from the public, collecting dust in some secluded warehouse.
What do you think art collectors should do when their collections get bigger and they ran out of space?

Broad Decides to Build His Own Museum
LOS ANGELES — Less than a year after the Los Angeles County Museum of Art opened a $56 million museum for contemporary art named for Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist who is its largest benefactor, Mr. Broad has decided to build his own museum and is considering a site just down the street.

In an Oct. 20 letter to the city manager of Beverly Hills, a lawyer representing Mr. Broad said he was interested “in bringing a first-class public art museum and adjacent foundation offices to the City of Beverly Hills.”

The letter says he is considering a site at the corner of Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards, roughly three miles west of the Los Angeles County Museum, whose 20-acre campus sits on Wilshire Boulevard next to the famed La Brea tar pits.

The decision appears to be another reversal for Mr. Broad, who had said he did not intend to build his own museum. In January, he shocked many in the art world when he said he had decided to retain permanent control of his art collection in a private foundation rather than give much of it away.

His move to reconsider his art foundation’s plans comes as museums and art institutions are suffering the effects of a global economic downturn that has diminished the value of their endowments and investments. This month, Mr. Broad told The Los Angeles Times that the value of his foundations had declined by 18 percent in the recent financial market turmoil.

Many local arts institutions are known to be suffering. The Museum of Contemporary Art, a separate, privately financed institution of which Mr. Broad was a founding trustee, is facing severe financial difficulties; it recently announced it would close its Geffen Contemporary annex in downtown Los Angeles for six months beginning in January and postpone several exhibitions. The Getty Museum made cutbacks in staff and adjustments in its operating hours this year.

When the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum opened in February, Mr. Broad said he was not interested in building his own museum, as several other wealthy American art collectors had done in recent decades.

Because his collection contains more than 2,000 works, Mr. Broad said he could not build a facility large enough to display them all, and he did not want most of them to sit in storage.

He used the same rationale to explain his decision to retain ownership of the works rather than to give most of his holdings to one or more museums, as he had previously said he would do. Speculation about which institutions would receive the works had long centered on the Los Angeles County Museum, because of his position as a trustee there and in light of his $50 million gift toward the Broad Contemporary.

But Mr. Broad has also said he needed more storage space for his art works. The Broad Art Foundation occupies a building in Santa Monica that it uses both for offices and as a gallery to display a small number of the works in the collection for viewing by artists, students and museum directors. But the gallery is not open to the public.

Mr. Broad has hired Marty Borko of the Gensler architecture firm to advise it on the new museum project, according to the letter, a copy of which was made available by a spokeswoman for Beverly Hills.

A story about Mr. Broad’s interest in the new project first appeared last week in The Beverly Hills Courier. An article published Tuesday on the Bloomberg news service quoted Joanne Heyler, director and curator of the Broad Art Foundation, as saying the foundation hoped to open the new museum in about three years. Neither Ms. Heyler nor Mr. Broad were immediately available for comment.

Michael Govan, the director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, said in an interview that he was not surprised that Mr. Broad was considering opening a new facility for his foundation.

“This is not in competition with what we are doing,” Mr. Govan said. “I’m not nervous, unhappy or surprised. I hope he is successful, because it is important for the city of Los Angeles.”

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