Every once in a blue moon, Heather and I find ourselves sans-children long enough to do something fun and grown up. We call it "date night," even though it's been known to happen during the day. On a Thursday morning this week, we found ourselves at The Broad, DTLA's hip contemporary art museum that opened just over a year ago.
The art collection is magnificent, featuring pop art legends like Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons and Barbara Kruger. But for me, the real standouts were two previously unknown artists: Mark Tansey and Yayoi Kusama. More on them below.
The building itself if perhaps the most amazing piece of art there, putting Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall just across the street to shame.
The outside of the building, called the "veil," is a concrete meshwork that surrounds the structure in a way only a computer-generated meshy thing can. Tucked between the first and third floor is a smooth gray blob called the "vault" where the entire collection is securely stored. There's an escalator, elevator, and a staircase that run right through this mass, with a few small windows dotted around to peek into the warehouse. The whole thing feels very alien and superflous, but pretty damned cool. We enjoyed exploring the space as much as we loved looking at the art.
Heather and I instantly fell in love with Mark Tansey's paintings. They evoke a kind of nostalgic fever dream, each piece of art its own bizarre statement on art itself. Plus, I love art that can make me laugh.
Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room is such a simple concept, yet the result is breathtaking. It's truly like stepping into a spatial disco void. Guests enter one at a time and are limited to only 45 seconds in the room, but the awe that you're experiencing while you're in there may last a lifetime.
Another big highlight of the day was lunch at Otium, a beautiful contemporary restaurant with rustic appointments and natural accents everywhere. The open kitchen shows off everything like a showroom, even the big cuts of meat hanging in the coolers. Food is served family style, and it's delicious. The whole affair was surprisingly not crazy expensive, either.
If you find yourself in downtown Los Angeles, make sure to check out The Broad. Admission is free, but reservations are strongly encouraged, unless you prefer waiting in a long standby line. To see Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room, you should get there early and reserve your 45 seconds before the day's showings book out.
And if you've got Snapchat like Heather, make sure you create some of your own art while you're there.