Blowhard, Esq. writes:
Billionaire real estate developer and arts philanthropist Eli Broad has opened a new museum in downtown Los Angeles for his contemporary art collection. I got a chance to check it out on my Xmas vacation.
Broad’s contributions have enabled such UR favorites as Thom Mayne and Zaha Hadid to
inflict grace their designs upon the world. For this building, the architects were Diller Scofidio + Renfro, a NYC-based firm that also did work on the High Line renovation. Here’s the museum’s exterior, which many were quick to dub “The Cheese Grater” and which Paleo Retiree has likened to a Bluetooth speaker.
The museum lobby, including the gift shop. Yes, that’s a giant stack of oversized dishes. Appropriately, you take an elevator up the building’s butthole into the main gallery.
Feast your eyes on the wacky, wonderful, zany, lefty world of contemporary art. I guess if you relax and don’t take anything seriously, the provocations are enjoyable in their own kooky way. But the main thing I thought about is how rich people all chase after the same shit.
The wall text is predictably eyeroll-inducing. Here’s the description of the preserved sheep pictured above. Dear Reader, did the work cause you to address your own ultimate mortality, resulting in emotional and empathetic responses? (And assuming it did, doesn’t roadkill, nature documentaries, and shopping for live fish in a market do the same thing?)
My favorite work by far was Kara Walker’s “African’t,” an obscene fever dream that says more about the artist’s sexual fantasies than it does about the realities of slavery. You can’t really tell from these photos but those silhouettes are life-sized cut-outs.
Some shots of the gallery interior. Glassy, white, swoopy — check, check, check.
Afterwards we headed down the hill to the Grand Central Market so I could get a pastrami sandwich at Wexler’s Deli because you can’t get a decent one in New York anymore.
- My posts on the Getty, Bowers, and Las Vegas Neon museums.
- Paleo Retiree and Eddie Pensier on the High Line.
I don’t see any leftist programmatic political content in a lot of this art — certainly not in Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art; not even in conceptual art like that of Hirst or Koons’s. The collectors who buy it may lean left, but I don’t think that’s why they buy it.
Yeah, I doubt Eli Broad cares about the political content or lack thereof in any of these pieces. As I alluded to — as Paleo Retiree and Fabrizio have noted — I think these billionaires all chase after the same names b/c these are the names touted by the art world and buying this stuff and patronizing these architects is just something that people with hundreds of millions to spend do: https://uncouthreflections.com/2014/12/02/billionaires-dig-frank-gehry/
In Tom Wolfe’s Back to Blood there is a delicious description of billionaires buying modern art. Everybody in running shoes.
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Well, that sucks ass.