Kai Ryssdal visits “The Vault” at The Broad Museum | Joanne Heyler


My name’s Joanne Heyler. I’m founding director of The Broad Museum, which is in downtown Los Angeles and is dedicated to the collection of Eli and Edye Broad, who have been great collectors for 50 years, and created this museum, which opened five years ago. This museum is an essential part of the civic and cultural fabric of Los Angeles. That’s with intent by the Broads, right, to develop downtown LA with this museum and his investments here? The cultural landscape of Los Angeles would not be what it is today without Eli and Edye Broad. Eli was involved with creating the possibility of Disney Hall. They’ve been major supporters of both LACMA and MOCA. They’ve been supporters of the LA Phil, the LA Opera. I mean, the list is almost too long to enumerate here. And the amount of people who have come to the museum is just astounding us, and we didn’t even expect it. We expected about 300,000 a year. And it’s how many now? Last year we welcomed 917,000 people. That’s amazing. I mean, if you drive by and you see the lines, it doesn’t surprise you. But it’s still kind of amazing. OK, so you’re an art curator, right? You’re a professionally trained art person. I imagine there’s a little bit of marketing and branding that goes along with that. But how do you get that diverse clientele in here? We took away a lot of barriers, starting with free general admission. But we also, sort of, when we were planning the museum, took a note from digital retail and thought about the fact that can’t we just do everything in a mobile device in terms of ticketing, etc. Tell me more about going to artists’ studios and schmoozing with them, I guess. That’s part of your job? That’s the great thing about working in contemporary art. You get to talk to artists, you get to see them, you get to see what they’re thinking as they’re thinking through their own career, their own process and each of their works. We’re going to go downstairs. I heard that you were curious about the vault. Well, I mean, it’s so interesting to me that this is fundamentally an art lending library, right? Yes, it is. This is so funny. They’re just kind of hanging there in little slots. They hang in slots. Which of course, makes sense. How do you know when there’s a piece that you want to acquire for this museum? You just have to live as a curator or collector and be happy to live with a little bit of not knowing. You know, you can’t possibly know for sure, no matter how intelligent you are, that in 50 years or 100 years, a given artwork is going to still have currency. Yeah. You just can’t know that. So you have to be interested in that challenge. Back it out for me for a second and talk about the art market. How’s the art market these days? I think, in some respects, like at least certain segments of the overall economy, there’s, you know, climbing values, and yet, not as much clarity or consensus about why that’s happening. What is it about contemporary art that does it for you? You learn about the entire world through artists’ eyes. Eli always has said that artists look at the world differently, and so I think that’s what you really get. Whether you’re a collector or museumgoer, that’s what you get. The whole world kind of opens up to you, and you get to learn more about who we are. And you get to see beautiful objects. That doesn’t hurt either. So that’s why. Joanne, thanks a lot. Yeah, of course.

3 thoughts on “Kai Ryssdal visits “The Vault” at The Broad Museum | Joanne Heyler

  1. yay more art hiding behind locked doors…
    if they really cared about it they would do full 3d scans of their entire inventory0

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