LA Museum's Extension Has Split Personality

Tug of war between benefactor and director evident
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2008 1:00 PM CST
Billionaire Eli Broad, who is part of a bid to buy the Tribune Co., speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, in this Nov. 30, 2006 file photo in Los Angeles. His Broad Contempoary Art Museum...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Critics are assessing Los Angeles's newest art institution, the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, housed in a building by Renzo Piano on the campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It's a strange mix of public and private: The new building—to open Feb. 16—was funded by billionaire benefactor Eli Broad and integrated with LACMA before Broad announced that his collection won't be permanently housed there, after all.

The Los Angeles Times' Christopher Hawthorne sees echoes of Piano's earlier Centre Pompidou in Paris in the new building, which features an colorful exterior "spider" of interlocking escalators and stairs, though inside "the building is well-behaved to a fault." Piano's building encapsulates the feud between Broad's and LACMA director Michael Govan's "two very different ideas of how a museum in Los Angeles should look and operate."