Billionaire Eli Broad Offers To Bail Out L.A. Museum

Eli Broad i i

Billionaire art collector Eli Broad, 75, says that "failure is not an option" when it comes to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum has been struggling from a loss of endowment money. Katherine Opitz/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Katherine Opitz/NPR
Eli Broad

Billionaire art collector Eli Broad, 75, says that "failure is not an option" when it comes to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum has been struggling from a loss of endowment money.

Katherine Opitz/NPR
Koons Bunny i i

One of Eli Broad's favorite pieces is Jeff Koons' 1986 stainless steel "Rabbit." Courtesy of Broad Art Foundation hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Broad Art Foundation
Koons Bunny

One of Eli Broad's favorite pieces is Jeff Koons' 1986 stainless steel "Rabbit."

Courtesy of Broad Art Foundation

The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art is in serious financial trouble. The museum has rising operational costs, and its endowment has dropped from more than $40 million to just $6 million.

But billionaire financier, philanthropist and arts lover Eli Broad is offering a $30 million boost to the struggling museum — but not without a few rules.

First, he says the museum needs to make changes starting from the top. "They've got to reconstitute the board with people that are going to step up to their responsibilities as trustees, and they're going to probably have to reduce their budget, but not their programs," Broad tells Alex Cohen.

Under Broad's conditions, MOCA cannot merge with any other institutions or sell any pieces of art. But what happens if MOCA officials don't meet their end of the bargain?

"No one wants it to fail. And I think there are people out there that are going to step up to the plate and help. To me, failure is not an option," Broad says.

Broad also emphasizes the importance of art and performance during rough economic times. He cites Jeff Koons' 1986 stainless steel sculpture titled "Rabbit" as one of his favorite and most uplifting pieces. "We really do need art to lift our spirits," he says. "It lets your mind get away from the economic trauma we're living in. It lifts our spirits."

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