Eli Broad has been a busy man this year overseeing his Broad museum, which is approaching its one-year-anniversary in September — but not too busy to buy new art.
The Broad has added 29 new works to its permanent collection, it announced on Friday, all acquired since the museum's opening. A third of the new works come from local artists, further deepening the museum's connection to Los Angeles.
"L.A. artists have been essential to the collection from the beginning," museum director Joanne Heyler said in an email interview. "Visitors are greeted by Robert Therrien's sculptural stack of plates inside our front doors — Bob was one of the first contemporary artists whose work the Broads collected over 30 years ago, and his studio has been in downtown L.A. for decades, long before it was the place to be. Now L.A. is teeming with good artists, so we collect here in increasing depth."
The new acquisitions come from artists both familiar and new to the Broad. The museum owns the largest collection of Cindy Sherman works worldwide — the artist's latest photographs are currently on view in the Broad's "Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life." The Broad bought four of the new works on view, all portraits of the artist as aging Hollywood divas. It also acquired an older Sherman photograph from her rear-screen projection series, 1980's "Untitled #71." The museum now boasts 129 Sherman works.
The Broad deepened its holdings of works by other 1980s-era Pictures Generation artists in its collection as well. It purchased Sherrie Levine's cast bronze "Beach Ball After Lichtenstein," created last year; it now owns 11 pieces by the artist. It also acquired a new work from 2015 by John Baldessari, the painted print "That's Not Bad….," bringing its holdings by the L.A. artist to 41. The museum introduced Ericka Beckman into its collection as well, with the acquisition of the artist's 32-minute, 16-millimeter film, "You the Better." The piece, shot in 1983, will be displayed in an installation alongside related set pieces immersed in synchronized lighting.
Beckman is one of six artists whose work is new to the Broad's collection of postwar and contemporary art. The others are Oscar Murillo, Tauba Auerbach, Alex Israel, Jonas Wood and Piotr Uklanski.
The Broad added the eight-panel "trade today," 2014-15, by London and La Paila, Colombia-based Murillo, flag-like canvases addressing the global economy. Two works by New York-based Auerbach — the woven canvas "Shadow Weave — Chrial Fret Wave," 2015, and the acrylic on masonite painting "Grain: Slice/Maille I," 2015 — play with perceptions of space.
It also added a painting by L.A. artist Wood, "Children's Garden," 2015; Uklanski's work of 164 paneled photographs of actors depicting Nazis in cinema, "The Nazis," 1998; and five paintings and sculptural installations by L.A.-based Israel.
These fresh faces — new additions to the Broad collection, at least — complement acquisitions by artists who are staples of the collection such as Sam Francis, whose "Summer #1," 1957, joins seven other of the artist's works in the museum. The Broad also acquired one new work each by long-held artists George Condo ("Self Portraits Facing Cancer 1," 2015), Andreas Gursky ("Pyongyang IV," 2007), Mark Grotjahn ("Untitled [Pink Cosco VI Mask M40.g]," 2016), and a bronze sculpture by Cy Twombly ("Untitled, 2002").
The museum deepened its holdings of Gregory Crewdson with two new digital pigment prints; it now has 14 works by the artist.
Three newly acquired paintings by Thomas Houseago were all created this year — they rank among the Broad collection's most recently created works.
"The Broad collection has a scope that includes deep representations of works by artists who emerged from the 1950s to today," Heyler noted. "We continually add artists and usually acquire very recent works by artists in the collection, but we also keep our eyes on more historic and great work that fits the collection."