The Broad Museum is my favorite museum in Downtown Los Angeles and a wonderful addition to the city’s art scene. I remember the first time I went to The Broad, I was so excited that I reserved tickets far in advance so I could go on opening day. As I walked inside, I was greeted by a sculpted concrete cavern with passageways leading in multiple directions where you could only catch a glimpse of what was to come. I was like a child stepping onto a playground. As I rode up the escalator, I had to touch the cement wall which has an amazing, curvy texture. My own art is highly textural so I love being able to feel a space and it often inspires future creations. Also inspiring is the architecture of the whole museum which is gorgeous with lots of natural light.
The second floor of The Broad is spacious and filled with many of my favorite artists. I believe that as an artist it is important to visit museums to discover new trends in the art world as well as be reminded of the history of all of those who came before. One of my favorite artists, Robert Rauschenberg, is well known for his use of recycled materials and for adding fabric and collage into his large, abstract paintings. I have always been inspired by his work, especially since I studied printmaking and later learned that he started out his artistic career as a printmaker too.
In 1952, Robert Rauschenberg took a six-month journey to Italy and North Africa with Cy Twombly another one of my favorite artists. This trip changed Twombly’s art and upon his return to New York he combined graffiti-like images with carvings into wet paint, redefining the meaning of painting.
I have always been moved by Twombly’s art, especially his ease with the use of charcoal, a difficult medium. His mastery of the medium and love of creating shines through in his work. I have been incorporating charcoal into my recent paintings and have become quite taken with it. I find it very relaxing to simply make circles and see where it takes me. I’ve even gotten my art students into using charcoal and it has led to some amazing breakthroughs. That is the beauty of art. The journey it takes you on as the creator and the viewer.
At my last visit to The Broad, I had the honor of meeting artist El Anatsui, a very down-to-earth artist who was kind enough to take a photo with me and my friends. Anatsui is well-known for large-scale sculptures composed of bottle caps, reused aluminum commercial packaging, copper wire, and other recycled materials that end up looking like weaved cloth. He leaves the installations open and encourages the works to take different forms every time they are installed.
“I don’t want to be a dictator. I want to be somebody who suggests things.” – El Anatsui
Anatsui’s work recalls traditional African kente cloth, which is made by weaving long strips into a patchwork whole and the artworks become a metaphor for shifting contexts and images of Africa. Critic Holland Cotter describes the pieces as reflections of “an African essence of three interchangeable parts always in motion: memory, reality, determination.”
Of the 200 diverse artists featured at the museum, the most popular attraction is Yayoi Kasuma’s Infinity Mirrored Room, which will be on view until the end of September. You need to reserve your timed ticket as soon as you enter the museum because wait times can be long as only one person is allowed in the room at a time. Although you only get 45 seconds inside, it’s enough time to be transported to another world. The room is filled with hanging, multicolored LED lights and lined with mirrors all around making you feel like you have stepped out into the middle of a galaxy or another dimension.
The Broad is a stunning source of inspiration from the artwork, to the artists, to the architecture and to the location itself. It’s a wonderful place where modern art enthusiasts can spend the day experiencing a diverse array of art forms, mediums, and exhibitions. The Broad stands tall as the beacon of contemporary art and culture in Downtown LA and its free ticketing, save for a few exhibits, means it’s accessible to all. I highly recommend visiting it multiple times.
About Clara Berta
Clara Berta is a passionate, award-winning abstract artist of Hungarian heritage. Her dynamic, highly textural abstract paintings have been exhibited in the United States and collected worldwide. In addition to exhibits across the US, Clara’s work has been featured in film and television including CBS’s Two Broke Girls, Bravos’ Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles, Disney’s You Again, Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, ABC’s The Catch, and the indie TV film Broken Links. Her art has also been seen in LA Weekly, Singular Magazine, Culture Trip, Downtown News and other publications.
About The Broad
The Broad is a contemporary art museum founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. The museum is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler and offers free general admission. The museum is home to the 2,000 works of art in the Broad collection, which is among the most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary art worldwide, and has launched an active program of rotating temporary exhibitions and innovative audience engagement. The 120,000-square-foot, $140-million building features two floors of gallery space and is the headquarters of The Broad Art Foundation’s worldwide lending library, which has actively loaned collection works to museums around the world since 1984. Since opening in September 2015, The Broad has welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors.