The Broad museum, in preparation for its fall opening in downtown Los Angeles, announced Tuesday that it has beefed up its collection of postwar and contemporary art with the acquisition of more than 50 new works.
Among the additions to a 2,000-plus-piece collection that philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad have amassed during the last 40 years: a vast 2014 painting by Takashi Murakami, “In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow.” At 82 feet long and 10 feet high, it’s the largest painting in the collection and joins 10 other Murakami works.
The museum also added a racially and politically charged charcoal drawing by Robert Longo, “Untitled (Ferguson Police, August 13, 2014).”
The 10-foot-long piece depicts a line of police during protests in Ferguson, Mo., after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.
“It’s been true for decades now that the Broad collections have been actively acquiring works from the postwar period,” said Joanne Heyler, the museum’s founding director, referring to the Broads’ personal collection and their foundation’s holdings, both of which will be on display. “Often that means Pop art, but not always.”
Acquisitions in the last year have included works by a new generation, often purchased within a year of completion.
“We have a Rauschenberg combine from the 1950s and at the same time are adding artworks by younger artists,” Heyler said.
Along those lines, the recent acquisitions include works by artists already well represented in the Broad collection: five lithographs by Ed Ruscha, Jeff Koons’ polychrome bronze “Hulk (Organ),” a 2015 John Baldessari diptych titled “Pictures & Scripts: Honey — what words come to mind?” as well as the photo-based Baldessari piece “Horizontal Men, 1984” and a set of screen prints from Baldessari’s 2012 “Eight Soups” series.
The Broad also acquired three sculptures by Cy Twombly and work by Christopher Wool and Damien Hirst.
Heyler is curating the museum’s inaugural installation, a largely chronological showing of works from the permanent collection that will take over the entire building.
Only some of the new acquisitions, including the Longo piece, will be part of that exhibition, she said.
“We have a long future ahead of us in this building, and over the course of time we will show all of them,” she said.
The Broad is scheduled to open Sept. 20 across the street from the Museum of Contemporary Art, further defining the stretch of Grand Avenue between 2nd and 3rd streets in downtown L.A. as a blossoming corridor of contemporary art.
The $140-million, honeycomb-like building by Diller Scofidio + Renfro has 50,000 square feet of public exhibition space on two floors. The Broads have endowed their museum with “north of $200 million,” Eli Broad has said. Admission will be free.
“Edye and I have always loved collecting art, but we have a new excitement and energy in acquiring new artworks now that we’re opening the Broad,” Eli Broad said in an interview. “We’re excited to discover new artists and artworks, especially when we have the opportunity to meet the artist and see their works in progress. These new acquisitions are truly art of our time, and we can’t wait to share them with the public.”
The most recent acquisition is the Julie Mehretu 2015 ink-and-acrylic-on-canvas “Invisible Sun (algorithm 8, fable form).” It’s the New York-based artist’s third work in the Broad collection.
Works by artists Goshka Macuga and Ella Kruglyanskaya also have been acquired.
After opening, the museum will offer a slate of programming, including talks and music performances.
It also plans outdoor film screenings in warmer months, and in 2016 the Broad will begin showing temporary exhibitions in the first-floor gallery.