Bad news for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and other institutions, billionaire Eli Broad has announced that he is not giving away any of his 2,000 art works to them
. Instead Broad has decided that his art will be retained by his Broad Art Foundation. His foundation, which was established in 1984 and has made 7,000 loans of art to institutions around the world. Broad, who is 74 and a founder and former chief executive officer of the homebuilder KB Home and insurer SunAmerica Inc., sees his foundation as an art lending library which could be a model for other collectors who are worried that their pieces, once donated, will end up in storage rather than taking pride of place in a museum. Broad's foundation in Santa Monica
currently has 20,000 square feet for showing the art that is not loaned out.
Broad's status as a collector (he is one of the world's top ten collectors) means that his decision will have an impact on how other aging collectors think about their future plans for art, wondering if they too should find an option that will make sure that their accrued works don't end up in a museum's storage. What makes Broad's decision particularly interesting is the timing, next month the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is opening the $56 million Broad Contemporary Art Museum, a building designed by Renzo Piano and financed by Broad, ostensibly for the purpose of showcasing his art. The new museum will still have favored nation status so much of the art will hang there but there is a big differenc between loaned art and owned art, especially in terms of the leverage that a large and important collection provides. Museums often go through elaborate courting processes with big fish donors spending a great deal of time and money in the hopes of getting a valuable donation.
One thing I wonder is whether or not Broad will get the same tax breaks
for leaving the art in his own foundation versus donation.