The Best of Los Angeles in 2015: Museums

Rendering of The Broad museum exterior
Image courtesy of The Broad, Facebook

From the long-awaited opening of The Broad to The Huntington’s new Education and Visitor Center, here’s a look at the year ahead for L.A.’s world-class collection of museums.

The Broad (Fall 2015)

Rendering of The Broad museum entrance
Entrance to The Broad | Rendering by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, courtesy of The Broad Art Foundation

Los Angeles welcomes a spectacular new museum of contemporary art in the fall, when The Broad opens on Grand Avenue in Downtown. The $140-million museum's stunning design creates a 120,000 square-foot, three-level facility with 50,000 square feet of gallery space on two floors, lecture hall, public lobby with display space and a museum shop. Upon entering the lobby, visitors will travel up a 105-foot escalator, through the second-floor concrete vault, and enter the third-floor gallery, which features 23-foot ceilings and 318 skylights that filter in diffused sunlight through the building’s exterior exoskeleton (aka “the veil”). In its January 2014 issue, Travel + Leisure magazine named The Broad one of the world's coolest new tourist attractions.

The Broad’s inaugural exhibition is entirely focused on the renowned contemporary art collection of Eli and Edythe Broad. Organized in a roughly chronological timeline, the exhibition will begin with Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg in the 50s and continues to the heart of the collection, 60s Pop Art by Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha and Roy Lichtenstein. The exhibition concludes with 70s and 80s works by Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jeff Koons.

Located directly south of the museum, a 24,000 square-foot public plaza will feature 100-year-old Barouni olive trees, an open lawn, and enhanced landscaping and improvements along Grand Avenue. On the western end of the plaza, restaurateur Bill Chait is developing a free-standing restaurant featuring chef Timothy Hollingsworth, former chef de cuisine at The French Laundry in Napa Valley. The plaza is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2015.

LACMA 50TH ANNIVERSARY (APRIL 2015)

Claude Monet, “Nymphéas,” 1905 (detail) at LACMA
Claude Monet, “Nymphéas,” 1905 (detail) | Image courtesy of LACMA

Since its inception in 1965, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has been devoted to collecting works of art that span both history and geography, in addition to representing L.A.'s uniquely diverse population. Today LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection that includes over 120,000 objects dating from antiquity to the present, encompassing the geographic world and nearly the entire history of art. LACMA is celebrating its 50th anniversary in April 2015 with a remarkable exhibition of 50 works from numerous private collections. The works - including an early Double Marilyn by Andy Warhol - are gifts that have been promised to LACMA. The exhibition will include several works from the collection of billionaire philanthropist A. Jerrold Perenchio, who recently announced his agreement to bequest the most significant works of his collection to LACMA. The distinguished collection includes paintings by Claude Monet, LACMA’s first painting by Edouard Manet, Pablo Picasso’s early drawing Tête (Head of Fernande) (1909), and René Magritte's seminal painting Les Liaisons dangereuses (1935). LACMA director Michael Govan said that Perenchio’s generous gift is “a cornerstone of our future. Without this collection LACMA could not tell the story of Impressionism and the birth of Modern art. Mr. Perenchio’s artworks will become some of this museum’s greatest highlights.”

HAMMER MUSEUM 25TH ANNIVERSARY (NOVEMBER 2015)

"Dr. Pozzi at Home" at the Hammer Museum
"Dr. Pozzi at Home" (detail) at the Hammer Museum | Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Widely regarded as one of the world’s leading cultural venues for emerging artists, the Hammer Museum in Westwood celebrates its 25th anniversary in November. The museum was founded in 1990 by Armand Hammer as a venue to exhibit his extensive art collection. The Hammer houses a permanent collection with masterpieces by Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Sargent, as well as one of the world’s finest collections of works on paper. Admission to the museum and its public programs is always free.

THE HUNTINGTON LIBRARY EDUCATION AND VISITOR CENTER (JAN-APR 2015)

Concept art for the Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center at The Huntington
Concept art for the Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center | Photo courtesy of The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino is opening a new Education and Visitor Center in 2015. The $68-million Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center opens its northernmost section in mid-January, when visitors can experience the new ticketing area, coffee shop and a substantially expanded gift shop. The rest of the Education and Visitor Center – including a new auditorium, café, classrooms, meeting space, orientation gallery, and 6.5 acres of new gardens – opens in April. The project also includes the addition of more than 40,000 square feet of underground storage space for The Huntington’s growing collections of rare historical research and other materials.

A+D ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN MUSEUM (SUMMER 2015)

A+D Museum on Museum Row
A+D Museum on Museum Row | Photo courtesy of A+D Museum, Facebook

The A+D Architecture and Design Museum is moving from Museum Row to a new home in the Arts District of Downtown L.A. A+D continues to be the only museum in Los Angeles where continuous exhibits of architecture and design are on view. The new A+D location is a 8,000 square-foot, one-story brick building located on East 4th Street at Colyton Street. The relocation is scheduled for completion in summer 2015. The new Arts District location is a return to Downtown L.A. for the museum, which opened in January 2001 in the landmark Bradbury Building. The museum's current location on Wilshire Boulevard is being replaced by the Wilshire/Fairfax station as part of the Metro Purple Line expansion.

Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War (2015)

Rendering of Wende Museum facade
Rendering by Paravant Architects, courtesy of Wende Museum, Facebook

The Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War preserves the cultural artifacts and personal histories of Cold War-era Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to inform and inspire a broad understanding of the period and its enduring legacy. The museum’s extraordinary collection of 100,000 items contains artifacts, personal histories and archival documents that record life, expression and political developments during the Cold War period from 1945 to 1991. The wide-ranging collection includes design objects, works on paper, ceramics, paintings, sculptures, posters, furniture, textiles, films and books. In 2015, the Wende will move to the former Culver City Armory, tripling its exhibition galleries and adding to a mile-long cultural corridor with numerous permanent public art installations, live music venues, theaters and museums. The Armory property nearly spans an acre and includes open land that will be converted into a community gathering space. A sculpture garden will eventually feature the museum’s 11 Berlin Wall segments.

ITALIAN AMERICAN MUSEUM OF LOS ANGELES (2015)

Interior of Italian American Museum of Los Angeles
Italian American Museum of Los Angeles interior | Rendering courtesy of IAMLA, Facebook

Slated to open in 2015, the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles (IAMLA) is the only museum in Southern California dedicated to the Italian American experience. IAMLA is located in the historic Italian Hall, adjacent to Olvera Street in Downtown. The now-restored Italian Hall was constructed in 1908 as a social and cultural center for the Italian community, in what was then the core of L.A.’s Little Italy. The interactive museum documents the history and continuing contributions of Italian Americans with vintage photographs and memorabilia, an oral history and research archive. In addition to featuring exhibitions, the museum will host events and cultural-educational programming.