Not All Sweetness in a Honeycomb Museum

Written on January 13, 2011 by Banafsheh Farhangmehr in Arts & Cultures & Societies

Experience tells us that it would be unwise to build up expectations for Eli Broad’s proposed new museum, whose design was unveiled at a ceremony in downtown Los Angeles last week.

Despite the tens of millions he has poured into the city’s art institutions, Mr. Broad’s reputation as a cultural patron is, to put it politely, subpar. Among architects he is known as someone with a gift for getting the worst buildings from the most highly regarded talents — a reputation that was pretty much cemented with the opening of the $50 million Broad Contemporary Art Museum at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a bland, uninspired travertine box by Renzo Piano that ranks somewhere near the bottom of that architect’s achievements.

Just as bad is his failure, in the view of many (myself included), to grasp the peculiar beauty of Los Angeles, its oddly hypnotic blend of flimsy houses and muscular freeways, raw nature and metropolitan grit. His urban ideal, to the degree that he has one, seems to be based on the Upper East Side of Manhattan or on central Paris — models that, however attractive, have little to do with Los Angeles’s sprawl….

Continue reading in The New York Times


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