The Broads should have kept their art in their living room!

It is unfortunate that so much art is put in a place that suffers immensely from being poorly run and planned. The Broad art museum in downtown LA is the worst run art museum that I have ever visited, and that is said without even setting foot inside.

The Broad, (image from the Broad website)
The Broad, (image from the Broad website).

Make no mistake, I have only admiration and respect for Eli and Edythe Broad, they are very nice people and are doing a massive amount of good work with their fortune. This article pertains only to how the art museum that bears their name is run on a daily basis.

I went to see the Jasper Johns exhibit yesterday Thursday May 10 as it was the waning days of the exhibit and I wanted to see it before it ended on May 13. On this day May 10, the museum offered free admission to the exhibit between 16:00 -20:00. However,  since I prefer to see art in as uncrowded an environment as possible, I went ahead and paid $25.00 and booked a ticket for 14:30 on Thursday instead of trying to attend for free. Since this would be my first visit to the Broad I anticipated coming in a bit earlier than my time slot for the Jasper Johns exhibit – so I arrived around 13:00 instead and was looking forward to seeing the rest of the museum before my 14:30 timed Jasper Johns ticket.

The first thing you will notice if you choose to drive your car to the museum, is that once you enter the garage all parking spots are two cars in tandem! This is an odd configuration for any public space and particularly odd for an art museum of this supposed caliber. It means that you have to leave your keys with an attendant if you are the second to park in a space and if you are the first, you will be ‘parked in’ and need to have an attendant move the blocking car to get out. It obviously also means that the museum need to hire  quite a large number of parking attendants to manage all this. I can only imagine that the thought is to strongly discourage people from driving to the museum, to me it just creates an inconvenience for the patrons of the museum and adds administrative headaches. I think a better way would have been to go with the tried and true way that you will find in most of Southern California’s and the rest of the worlds parking garages – single stall parking.

As I made my way up to the entrance I was excited to see the museum and hastened my steps coming out of the elevator from the garage, only to find a big line as I rounded the corner where the exit is situated (it looked like an entrance, but it was a guarded exit). I had not anticipated a line as long as this for ticketholders, and when I asked if this was the line if you already had a ticket I was told that it was. After a short period of time in the line, I asked one of the staffers that was moving around aside the line and asked hime how long the wait would be. He asked me what time my ticket was for and I told him that my timed ticked for the Jasper Johns exhibit was for 14:30 and that I had arrived early to see the rest of the museum (as is suggested on the museum website) before my ticketed time for Jasper Johns. I was told that I could not enter before the time of my Jasper Johns ticket. When I asked why that was not made clear at the time I bought the ticket the staffer told me that it was made clear, and essentially blew me off. As he walked away, I asked if I could speak to a supervisor or someone else that might be able to explain this better to me and also someone that would listen to my input on the matter. He told me that he would get someone to come talk to me. After waiting ten minutes I asked someone else to please get me a supervisor and shortly thereafter a supervisor came out and talked to me. All these encounters were not very pleasant, and although I’ll admit that I was slightly upset and disappointed with the whole situation and it likely showed. However, after having driven downtown and really looking forward to the art, and even more about seeing the architectural gem that the museum building really is, the disappointment should not be a surprise or something that the staff would not be able to handle in a better manner. Clearly, if you choose to work in a customer service position on the very front lines, one of the absolute requirements needed is to be able to deal with people – upset or not – in a manner that will calm upset feelings and make people feel better about things. In addition the front-line staff should have great powers granted to do what is necessary to correct any missteps or misunderstandings to ensure a satisfactory outcome for all sides. It is obvious that this is not how the Broad’s staff is instructed or empowered to operate, rather the feeling you get is that they do not need you – you are  there because of them… and at their will.

I was in the end offered to get in with 30 minutes less of a wait, at 14:00 instead of 14:30 – but at that point my day was already ruined by all the nonsense and in my view poor treatment. I just paid my $10 parking fee for the half hour of nonsense and decided that there is no reason for me to go back to the Broad.

I will keep supporting LACMA, the Tate’s in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris and all other museums around the world that knows how to run an efficient and more compassionate organization.

Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sesteros new movie BEST F[R]IENDS


Greg Sestero (on the left) and Tommy Wiseau during the Q&A at the premiere of BEST F[R]IENDS.
Greg Sestero (on the left) and Tommy Wiseau during the Q&A at the premiere of BEST F[R]IENDS.
Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero screened their new movie BEST F[R]IENDS  volume 1 in New Orleans on Friday evening April 6 2018. Tommy has gained a large following and after the premiere of the Disaster Artist, a movie that tells the story of the making of the Room starring James Franco as Tommy – his following has grown exponentially. The movie is an interesting piece, while the Room received some poor reviews and was even labelled the worst movie ever made by some, this movie is different and I certainly liked it. Tommy carries the movie and I think that while in the Room he was trying hard to be serious about the acting, maybe he just tried too hard? In the BEST F[R]IENDS movie, Tommy i think is just being Tommy plain and simple and he is a funny guy. The movie is definitely quirky and certainly has all the elements of becoming another cult movie just like the Room eventually did. I have been told that due to  massive amount of footage shot for the movie it had to be split into two volumes out of which this is the first volume. I can recommend seeing this movie, it is worth it – it’s good entertainment!

Greg Per & Tommy at the premiere of best Friends at the Joy Theater in New Orleans 4/6/2018.
Greg Per & Tommy at the screening of best Friends at the Joy Theater in New Orleans 4/6/2018.

Our correspondent Per Ericson met with Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau at the screening on Friday.

Here is a small clip from the Q&A before the movie:


Mona Lisa goes to America

In 1963, primarily thanks to the then first Lady Jackie Kennedy’s hard work to get the painting to the US, the French government allowed Leonardo da Vinci’s  (born in Vinci Italy 1452 died in France 1519) masterpiece Mona Lisa or ‘La Gioconda’ (Italian, in French – La Jocondeas the painting is also called, to be lent to the United States to be on display in Washington D.C. and New York City. Mona Lisa was displayed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and after that in New York city at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The painting made it’s way to the U.S. via ship in a climate controlled container and with heavy security. The ship carrying the painting was escorted into New York City by the US Coast Guard serving as added protection from potential thieves. The painting was in 1962 valued at $100,000,000.00 (100 million dollars) for the insurance needed for the trip.

The woman in the portrait is believed to be that of the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, who was a silk merchant from Florence Italy. Her name was  Lisa del Giocondo and the portrait was commissioned by her husband in celebration of the birth of their second son. La Gioconda (feminine of the last name Giocondo) means something along the lines of happy or jovial and the title is thought to be a play on words. It is believed to have been painted mainly between 1503 and 1506. The painting was never placed in the Giocondo home as was the purpose when it was commissioned. Leonardo is thought to have brought the unfinished painting with him to France, where he as an artist and painter was invited in 1516 by King Francois I. Leonardo likely finished the painting while in France and the painting remained there after Leonardo’s death. Leonardo left Mona Lisa to his assistant and it was purchased from him by King Francois I for 4,000 gold coins.  Francois I placed it in his palace at Fontainebleau where it remained for about 100 years. Louis XIV brought it to Versailles when it was made into the Royal residence in 1682. After the French revolution 1789-1799) it hung in Napoleon’s bedroom at the Tuileries for 4 years and then made it’s way to the Louvre in 1804 where it still has a permanent home to the joy of millions of visitors each year.

Mona Lisa or La Gioconda at the Louvre in 2013.
Mona Lisa or La Gioconda at the Louvre in 2013.

As with all the facts regarding the painting, when it was painted and who the subject really was, nothing is certain or definitively proven and much is conjecture after studies done on the matter, so keep this in mind when reading this.