For the first time in its 40-year history, the post-war and contemporary art collection will be shown to the public in its most comprehensive installation at the newly built The Broad which opened yesterday.  The three-story museum, designed by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, features 50,000 square feet of exhibition space on two floors. The inaugural installation will begin on the third floor, with its soaring 23-foot-high ceiling, filtered natural light and 35,000 square feet of column-free gallery space, giving visitors a constant and unobstructed view of the 318 skylights overhead.

Founding Director Joanne Heyler, who is curating the inaugural installation, which will feature a sweeping, chronological journey through the collection, has selected more than 250 works by over 60 artists. These include Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, John Baldessari, Mark Bradford, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger and Kara Walker— that best represent the Broad collection’s view of a half century of contemporary art.

The third-floor installation presents a chronological journey from the 1950s through to the 1990s, punctuated throughout by single artist galleries. The installation will begin with classic 1960s works by Andy Warhol, as well as a luminous gallery of Cy Twombly painting and sculpture, and will track the Broad collection’s strengths through the decades. The installation continues in the first-floor galleries, bringing the journey through contemporary art to the present with some of the most recent acquisitions and artworks such as Yayoi Kusama’s immersive Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away and a colorful, epic 82-foot-long painting by Takashi Murakami, a meditation on the recovery of Japan from the catastrophic 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

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The Broads set up The Broad Art Foundation in 1984 as a way to keep these works in the public domain through an enterprising loan programme that makes the art available for exhibition at accredited institutions throughout the world.

“This installation is an incredible opportunity to highlight the collection’s breadth and demonstrate in full force their nearly five-decade engagement with art,” Heyler said.

“We are not only able to present exciting moments of the collection’s well-known depth in artists like Twombly, Lichtenstein, Koons, and Warhol, but we also have explored interconnections between artists, and are showing works not previously associated with the collection and shared for the first time with Los Angeles audiences, including many of our most recent acquisitions.”

With a strong desire to advance public appreciation for contemporary art, The Broads continue to actively add to the collection through strategic acquisitions focused on expanding the representations of an artist’s work and broadening the scope of the collection. The result is a lending library of contemporary art and an expansive collection that is regularly cited as among the top in the world.

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The Broad museum on Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles; photo by Iwan Baan, courtesy of The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro