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Broad museum sets sights on fall 2015 opening in downtown Los Angeles

 Broad museum sets sights on fall 2015 opening in downtown Los Angeles
The Broad is a new contemporary art museum located at the corner of Grand Avenue and 2nd Street in downtown Los Angeles. (Los Angeles times, Los Angeles Times)

The Broad museum has taken a step closer to announcing when it will open, staking out fall 2015 but stopping short of a specific date.

The expected 2014 debut of the Broad, currently rising in downtown Los Angeles, was scratched earlier this year because of construction delays related to the building's complex exterior.

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"We are narrowing the window as we move to opening. When we have a specific opening date, we will announce that," Karen Denne, a spokeswoman for the museum, said Tuesday.

The $140-million museum, designed by the firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, will hold artwork from Eli and Edythe Broad's private collection. Eli Broad, who will be 82 when the museum opens, wasn't available for comment.

The building's complicated exterior design involves a facade called the "veil," which resembles a lattice pattern and is made of concrete and fiberglass.

The Broad is involved in a lawsuit with a subcontractor, Seele Inc., hired to create the facade.

The museum claims that Seele's delay in producing an acceptable version of the veil has driven up costs by at least $19.8 million and set the museum's opening back by at least 15 months.

Officials at the Broad and Seele have agreed to continue work on the museum and to face off later over the dispute.

Joanne Heyler, director and chief curator of the Broad Foundation, said that those delays "are now essentially behind us" and that she is confident in the museum's progress.

"I am very pleased with the progress in the last three months or so. The most dramatic features of the building are really taking shape," Heyler said by phone from New York.

Heyler, who is also the founding director of the Broad museum, was in New York at an event to present the Broad to East Coast journalists.

She said the press event at Le Cirque included Liz Diller and the virtual presence of Eli Broad via Skype.

The museum is located on Grand Avenue near 2nd Street and is still dominated by scaffolding. Some pieces of the site are near completion, including an adjacent 24,000-square-foot public plaza that will feature olive trees and grassy areas.

Inside, the museum will feature 120,000 square feet of space, with two floors dedicated to exhibiting art from the Broad's collection. It will offer mostly free admission to the public, but will charge for temporary special exhibitions.

The building will also serve as headquarters for the Broad Art Foundation's lending library of contemporary works.

On Tuesday, the museum announced that it recently acquired a piece by L.A. artist Jordan Wolfson for the permanent collection.

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"(Female Figure) 2014" is a life-size animatronic creation that interacts with viewers and moves to pop music.

The Broad will have a collection featuring more than 2,000 individual works by approximately 200 artists.

Follow me on Twitter: @DavidNgLAT

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