Modern Architecture

Wherever art collector, philanthropist and billionaire Eli Broad goes, star architects follow. As the lead donor for UCLA's Broad Art Center (2000), LACMA's Broad Contemporary Art Museum (2003), and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University (2007), he has brought big names like Richard Meier, Renzo Piano and Zaha Hadid respectively to modern architecture, specifically museum design. And with his current project, the Broad Museum (situated next to the Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles), Broad introduces relative newcomers Diller Scofidio + Renfro to the list.

With more than 2,000 contemporary works of art to his and his foundation's name, Broad's art collection is too expansive to list, so I'll stick to the monuments erected to house it. First up is the Broad Museum, currently under construction (pictured above and below).

Broad Museum Interior

Nobody walks in L.A., and to that end cars feature prominently in this design, visible through wide glass windows on the lobby level as they enter the underground parking lot.

The just-opened design at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, is all Zaha Hadid--skewed lines and angles taken straight from a science fiction movie (below). 

Zaha Hadid Museum Project

The windswept lines continue on to the interiors, where even the recessed fixtures continue with an asymmetrical theme. 

Zaha Hadid Interiors

The least adventurous of Broad's museums is the Piano designed BCAM at LACMA (pitcured below). Given that the institution is partially taxpayer-funded, the austere design is a bit more understandable.

Renzo Piano LACMA Wing

In truth, the most prominent feature of the new wing is artist Chris Burden's light sculpture located next door (check out our earlier story about Chris Burden's artwork). If you're so inclined, feel free to shop our modern post lights and build an art installation of your own at home.

Street Light Art at LACMA

Lighting isn't only used as artwork, as the above picture would have you think. At museums and in the home, it's a critical part of viewing artwork. In recent years, the art world has increasingly eschewed traditional incandescent picture lights in favor of modern recessed lighting and fluorescent and halogen fixtures. Here are a few of my favorite designs for lighting contemporary art: 

Stainless Steel Recessed Light

Juno 4" Low Voltage Chrome Adjustable Recessed Light Trim

Modern Picture LightLouvre 18" Wide Satin Nickel Finish Plug-In Picture Light

Starting your own personal art collection is a lot of fun. And who knows, someday you may find yourself gifting your art collection to museums across the country too. This is the season of giving after all.

Images: Arch Daily, Architect Magazine, Fabrik, Experiencing L.A.