The Broad museum opened in downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 20, showcasing Eli and Edythe Broad’s private art collection to the public for the first time. Following the opening, the museum sparked a protest from the Los Angeles Unified School District and Teachers’ Union, UTLA because of the Broads’ support of charter schools. Eli Broad has a non-profit called the Broad Foundation, which donates money to charter schools, and attempts to enhance the public education system.
Bill Bell, father of Sabrina Bell ’16, and member of the art board at the museum, said that one of the most impressive aspects of the museum is that the pieces were solely collected by Eli and Edythe Broad. The museum features roughly 2,000 pieces of contemporary art, including work by Jean Michel Basquiat and Jeff Koons. Koons’s Blue Dog and Takashi Murakami’s Dob in the Strangest Forrest (Blue Dob) are among the pieces included in the current exhibit, “The Inaugural Installation.”
“The origins are from Eli and Edythe Broad so this couple has a collecting vision that is different from other museums because museums are run by a board of trustees and have gifts given to them over decades and centuries, and this is one couple who built this collection during their lifetime.” Bell explained.
In addition to the famous art inside of the Broad, the exterior also stands out. The geometric architecture of the building was designed by Liz Diller, a contributor to New York City’s elevated park, the Highline,.
Many students, including Sydney Gough ’18, have visited the Broad since its opening.
“I think there is definitely an intellectual aspect of the Broad because with all modern art it is kind of obscure. I think Marlborough girls like a challenge in that sense, so the Broad really appeals to them. There’s also the physical aspect; it’s really pretty, and a lot of Marlborough girls do like to instagram.” Gough said.
The excitement surrounding the museum opening has been tempered by protests from angered LAUSD teachers’ union members and parents who are concerned about the effect charter schools have on public school systems.
“We’ll have a two-tiered public educational system: charter schools for the students who are college bound and public schools for at-risk students, many of whom are special needs. This seems to many of us to be the perfect recipe for creating an American underclass,” wrote Brandon Wilson, LAUSD teacher, active union member, and spouse of visual arts instructor Jena English .
The opening of the museum gave a perfect platform for union members of United Teachers of Los Angeles, to protest and raise awareness about the negative side of Broad’s philanthropy.
“It got the attention of some very powerful individuals in our city government, many of whom are trying to stay away from the fight altogether,” said Wilson via email.