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Bad Day For LACMA. Broad Keeps His Art.

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So much for that relationship. Eli Broad, as recently as a year ago, indicated he planned to give away his collection to one or several museums and it was assumed LACMA was on the top of that list. But Broad seems to have had a change of heart. Billionaires can do that, you know. Rather than donate his collection to a museum (apparently none would pledge to putting a large percentage of the collection on display permanently), Broad has chosen to establish an independent foundation that will make loans to museums. This isn't the first time LACMA missed out on a major collection. Both the Hammer and Norton Simon Museums are the result of donors toying with the idea of giving their collection to LACMA and opting instead to establish their own museums. Is this a major embarassment to a museum set to open a $56 million building designed by Renzo Piano and bearing Broad's name in just a few weeks? You betcha. But you wouldn't know it from the spin.

Via the Times:

Broad's spin: “I think it’s a new model that makes sense for other collections. If it was up to me, I believe that museums ought to own works jointly.” Mr. Broad encouraged that practice last year with his purchase of a work by the artist Chris Burden, which he then gave jointly to the county museum and another Los Angeles institution, the Museum of Contemporary Art, where he was a founding trustee. Michael Govan, LACMA director: "In a telephone interview late Monday night, he said that he viewed Mr. Broad's decision as a positive development because it meant that none of the art works would be sold, an act that would limit access to them by Lacma and other museums. Asked if he viewed Mr. Broad's decision as demonstrating a lack of confidence in him or in the museum, Mr. Govan said: 'Quite the reverse. Since day one he's privately and publicly given me a lot of support.'"

So LACMA will have to just make due with being the "favored" institution for loans, a $56 million expansion and $10 mllion donation to acquire new works. We feel for them. We really do.
· An Art Donor Opts to Hold On to His Collection [NY Times]