The Broad museum in downtown Los Angeles is undergoing a significant expansion with the addition of a three-story, 55,000-square-foot structure at the back of the existing museum. The $100 million expansion will primarily be used to house more galleries for the private collection, which includes works by artists such as Jasper Johns, Ed Ruscha, Jeff Koons, and Damien Hirst. The collection, amassed by L.A. patrons Edythe and Eli Broad over the past half a century, features around 2,000 pieces and will now have a total gallery space of approximately 85,000 square feet. This expansion will increase the number of works on display from 200 to over 350, though some have questioned whether the high cost justifies the relatively modest increase in the number of objects.

In comparison to other museums in Los Angeles, such as the upcoming David Geffen Galleries at LACMA, the Broad’s collection focuses primarily on American art from World War II to the present. Despite the increase in gallery space, the museum still charges admission for special exhibitions, prompting some to call for free access to all exhibitions given the Broad family’s substantial wealth. The expansion is also aimed at accommodating the museum’s growing attendance, as long lines are a common sight outside the building on Grand Avenue. The added space will provide more room inside for visitors and likely lead to greater flexibility in how galleries can be configured for changing installations.

The current gallery layout at the Broad has remained relatively unchanged since the museum’s opening, with limited flexibility in how artworks are displayed due to strict earthquake codes and cost constraints. The new expansion will allow for multiple floors of gallery space, providing an opportunity for a more dynamic presentation of the collection. Additionally, the new structure will not feature the complex honeycomb exterior panels found on the existing building, which were difficult to maintain and clean. The removal of these panels represents a departure from the original design concept of the museum as a “veil and vault” for a private collection made public.

Overall, the expansion of the Broad museum represents an effort to address the institution’s growing pains and accommodate its increasing popularity. The addition of new galleries will allow for a larger portion of the collection to be displayed to the public, while also providing more flexibility in how exhibitions are curated. The decision to charge admission for special exhibitions has been met with criticism, given the Broad family’s considerable wealth, but the expansion itself is seen as a positive step towards enhancing the museum’s offerings and visitor experience. With construction underway, the Broad’s new rear end is expected to welcome art enthusiasts and museum-goers alike in the near future.

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