Tables at the elite soirée cost $25,000 (silver), $50,000 (gold) or $100,000 (platinum). Guests included Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger and California’s first lady Maria Shriver, as well as Tom Cruise, Christina Aguilera and a bevy of Hollywood stars. And what was the occasion? – the ostentatious debut party for the Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM), which houses the modern art collection of billionaire Eli Broad at the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art.
In his evaluation of the BCAM collection, Big names, big works… big checkbook, Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight wrote:
“Mostly the exhibition just looks expensive. Really, really expensive. In deciding what to exhibit, art museums everywhere now strongly favor wealthy collectors over artists and art professionals, and slashed government spending at every level (except defense) keeps contemporary cultural institutions hostage to private interests. Ours is an era of supply-side aesthetics, trickling down on the public. BCAM’s loan-show debut is emblematic of the economic elitism humming loudly this presidential election year.”