Los Angeles has a new acronym, and another new artistic mecca -- BCAM, The Broad Contemporary Art Museum, a gift to the city by real estate billionaire Eli Broad and his wife. The musem, opening this Saturday, sits just beside the L.A. County Museum of Art, but could not be more different in style and tone than the mother ship. Designed by Renzo Piano, the new museum is recognizably the work of the man who gave the world the Pompidou Center in Paris; the materials used at BCAM are more durable, perhaps, but the shape of the museum from the outside, with its steep escalator on one side, and its zig-zagging staircase on the other, is familiar. Inside, the space is airy and light, well suited to the monumental pieces on display -- mainly on loan from the Broads, not donated, as was originally hoped -- by the signature contemporary artists of the past 50 years. The work of Jeff Koons -- pictured above in the shape of a shiny, neon blue balloon - dominates the top floor, along with that of Andy Warhol and John Baldessari. The opening show essentially takes you on a star-studded tour of contemporary art from the 1950s forward, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ed Ruscha, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Cindy Sherman. Not to be missed, however, are the permanent mastodons on the ground floor, the incredible, undulating brown steel mazes by Richard Serra. They are fearsome things of grace and power. Glad to know they're here to stay.
“Sharon Waxman has written a compelling page turner about the world of antiquities and art-world skulduggery. She manages to combine rigorous, scholarly reporting with a flair for intrigue and personality that gives Loot the fast pace of a novel. I enjoyed it immensely."
“Sharon Waxman’s Loot is the most instructive as well as the most intelligent (and the most entertaining) guide through the labyrinth of antiquity and the ways in which the claims of the departed intersect with the rights of the living.”
"Loot is a riveting foray into the biggest question facing museums today: who should own the great works of ancient art? Sharon Waxman is a first-rate reporter, a veritable Euphronios of words, who not only explores the legal and moral ambiguities of the conflict but brings to life the colorful -- even outrageous -- personalities facing off for a high noon showdown over some of the world’s iconic works of art. Vivid, witty, and delightful, this book will beguile any reader with an interest in art and museums."
“Sharon Waxman approaches her subject with the passion of a great journalist and the rigor of a scholar. It may never again be possible for some of us to walk down the halls of the Louvre or the British Museum or the Metropolitan without a vague sense of disquietude, a frisson of wonder about the provenance of some of their showcase works of ancient art.”
Karl E. Meyer, author of The Plundered Past and co-author of Kingmakers: The Invention of the Modern Middle East:
"Sharon Waxman’s Loot is indispensable for everyone concerned with the illicit trade in smuggled antiquities. She exposes the self-serving humbug that too often afflicts both affluent possessors and righteous nationalists and shows that we all have a stake in getting an honest account of how great objects came to rest in our grandest museums."