I already knew about the Broad museum, which opened to much fanfare in downtown Los Angeles in 2015. But it was only as I researched my recent trip to the city that I realized it had become one of America’s most important centers of contemporary art. I discovered three other notable museums in the city dedicated to cutting-edge works: a major new institution with a collection comparable in scope and quality to that of the Broad, and two smaller museums displaying up-to-the-minute pieces by lesser-known artists deserving of more attention.
These museums, combined with the numerous top-notch galleries in the city, allow one to spend a visit doing nothing other than viewing world-class contemporary art. I don’t have such single-minded focus, but the fact that it’s now possible to build an entire itinerary around contemporary art in Los Angeles is an astonishing and welcome development.
The striking honeycomb exterior of this museum helps it compete with the flamboyant Frank Gehry-designed concert hall across the street. More important, it allows indirect natural light into many of the galleries within, which contain masterpieces of art from the early 1960s through to the present. Philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad (pronounced “brohd”) assembled the 2,000-some works in the collection, though of course only a fraction of the pieces are on display.