Andy Warhol’s silkscreen paintings of Marilyn Monroe, made just months after her death. Takashi Murakami’s 82-foot painting that meditates on the 2011 tsunami and earthquake in Japan. Kara Walker’s intricate silhouette cutouts that provoke reflection on the painful truth of slavery. Julie Mehretu’s interpretation of the Arab Spring and the Egyptian capital that was its cradle. And Barbara Kruger’s graphically powerful painting that became an important image for the feminist movement.
They are among the 2,000 artworks by 200 artists that comprise the Broad collection. Five decades in the making, it has become one of the world’s leading collections of postwar and contemporary art.
One of the hallmarks of the collection is the depth of representation of an artist’s work, reflecting a commitment to that artist and showing the evolution of her thinking and practice. That depth of collecting enables the Broad collection to be a key resource for museums worldwide that present retrospectives of an artist’s work.
The collection includes the largest holdings of Cindy Sherman’s work—124 of her photographs featuring the artist as her own model playing out feminine stereotypes—and the largest collection in the Western U.S. by German conceptual artist Joseph Beuys.
Eli and Edythe Broad’s taste in and interpretation of contemporary art inspires the entire collection: their experiences in the 1980s visiting artists’ studios in the East Village and Soho; their attraction to strong social and political themes reflected in works by David Wojnarowicz, Cady Noland, Kara Walker, Anselm Kiefer and Mike Kelley; their love of more than five decades of paintings and sculpture by Cy Twombly; their deep friendship with artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Jeff Koons; and their early attraction to works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Cindy Sherman. Artists from Los Angeles are well-represented, as works by John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Barbara Kruger, Mark Bradford, Mark Grotjahn and Sterling Ruby have prominence in the collection.
With one new artwork added each week on average, the collection continues to grow and remains truly contemporary. Robert Longo’s charcoal drawing of an advancing line of police in riot gear during the racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, and a provocative single-room installation featuring a robot created by Los Angeles artist Jordan Wolfson are among the collection’s most recent acquisitions and more evidence that the collection continues to accept, unflinchingly, artwork that challenges the viewer and leaves no subject off-limits.