This past holiday weekend marked the sneak peek preview of the newly erected Broad Museum in downtown Los Angeles. For ten dollars the public was able to step inside the unfinished structure and experience a special light and sound based exhibition on the museum’s top floor. The exhibit “Sky-lit: Volume, Light and Sound at the Broad” consisted of a light projection coupled with a soundscape piece on the adjacent side of the vast gallery space. The Swedish artist B. J. Nilsen created the sound work called DTLA, especially for this occasion; “Nilsen will bring the soundscape of downtown Los Angeles into The Broad” as stated in the press release. The second installation is an immersive light and sound work by the LA based artist Yann Novak. “Stillness” was activated after dark and played off of the light and space throughout the gallery.
Upon entering the museum you are greeted by immense convex and concave surfaces that make up the walls and ceilings, clean curving lines make the vast space feel intimate. After being led through a corridor, visitors had the option to take the stairs or the large freight elevator, still lined with plywood. I opted for the staircase to the third floor. Upon entering the space I was immediately met with the sounds of each piece on opposite sides of the room coupled with the chatter of about 200 people, overwhelming to say the least. Although there were a lot of visitors the gallery never really felt crowded, just loud.
Novak’s light piece was directly to the right, two projections spanning across the length of the gallery. Two separate projections paired to create a horizon of color, light, and line. The far left consisted of warm tones and vivid blues that shifted and subtly changed while to the far right the projection consisted of cool colors, blues, greys, and greens that seemed to drift at a different pace. The images were distortions of Los Angeles at sunset and dusk. The work reflected different atmosphere that people experience daily however re-contextualized in a serene environment. The piece was mesmerizing but the surrounding chaos was hard to compete with. The sound piece by Nilsen was also difficult to really experience because of the crowd noise but overall the pieces complimented each other and the space quite well.
Despite the large -scale artworks, this preview was much more about showing off the building and giving people a taste of what’s to come. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the building itself is 120,000-square-foot with two floors of gallery space. It is located on Grand Avenue, right across the street from the Museum of Contemporary Art and adjacent to the architecturally iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall. In the words of the designer Diller, “the Broad will be porous and absorptive, channeling light into its public spaces and galleries. The veil will play a role in the urbanization of Grand Avenue by activating two-way views that connect the museum and the street.”
So far there have been mixed reviews among Los Angeles citizens and downtown residents about the building’s aesthetic value. But despite the difference of opinions the space was full of curious art lovers taking in what they could before the September opening. Personally, I cannot wait to see how the diffused daylight plays off of a Jeff Koons piece.