Date night at The Broad.

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.

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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.

Untitled by Keith Haring

Untitled by Keith Haring

The Nazis by Piotr Uklanski (cropped)

The Nazis by Piotr Uklanski (cropped)

Metallic Venus by Jeff Koons (cropped)

Metallic Venus by Jeff Koons (cropped)

Nurse Ko2 by Takashi Murakami (cropped)

Nurse Ko2 by Takashi Murakami (cropped)

John by Chuck Close

John by Chuck Close

Michael Jackson and Bubbles by Jeff Koons

Michael Jackson and Bubbles by Jeff Koons

In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow by Takashi Murakami (cropped)

In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow
by Takashi Murakami (cropped)

Strategy by Jenny Saville (cropped)

Strategy by Jenny Saville (cropped)

Big Electric Chair by Andy Warhol (cropped)

Big Electric Chair by Andy Warhol (cropped)

Beef Ribs Longhorn by Jean‐Michel Basquiat (cropped)

Beef Ribs Longhorn by Jean‐Michel Basquiat (cropped)

Mirror #1 by Roy Lichtenstein

Mirror #1 by Roy Lichtenstein

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.

Achilles and the Tortoise by Mark Tansey

Achilles and the Tortoise by Mark Tansey

Forward Retreat by Mark Tansey

Forward Retreat by Mark Tansey

  A Short History of Modernist Painting by Mark Tansey  

 

A Short History of Modernist Painting by Mark Tansey

 

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.

Infinity Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kusama

Infinity Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kusama

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.

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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.

 
 

Bobby Dragulescu

Dragulescu Studio, 10206 Oklahoma Ave. Unit E, Chatsworth, CA 91311, USA

With a background in branding, advertising, and themed entertainment, Bobby is the Creative Director, lead designer, and (sometimes) photographer of Dragulescu Studio. He's worked in a variety of mediums, ranging from interactive design for companies like Apple, Magento, and Fandango to theme park signage for Warner Brothers, The Walt Disney Company, 20th Century Fox, DreamWorks Animation, and the Thea Award winning NatureQuest exhibit at Fernbank Museum of Natural History.