Eli Broad-sides German Firm with Museum Construction Lawsuit

View of The Broad’s exterior honeycomb facade from the restaurant (image courtesy The Broad and Diller Scofidio + Renfro)

Eli Broad’s under-construction Los Angeles museum, ominously named The Broad, has filed a $20 million lawsuit against the German supplier of its distinctive honeycomb façade, the New York Times reported. Designed by New York architects Diller Scofidio & Renfro, the building in downtown Los Angeles is set to be completed in 2015, and will sit opposite Frank Gehry’s Disney Hall.

The lawsuit accuses the German fabricator, Seele, of significantly delaying the project by failing to erect the veil it was contracted to produce — and which covers nearly the entire building’s surface — by an October 25, 2013, deadline. Seele has also worked on Rem Koolhaas’s Seattle Central Library, Renzo Piano’s New York Times building, and the Fifth Avenue Apple store.

The floundering flourish recalls the broader stratagem at play. As Shelley De Angelus, Eli Broad’s former curator, once put it to The New Yorker: “When you’ve got the big house, and you’re driving a Jaguar, what differentiates you from every asshole dentist in the Valley? Art was a way for Eli to distinguish himself.”

To slightly rephrase: When you’ve got the big art, and you’re driving a museum, what differentiates you from every other asshole financial titan in the country? An expensive German veil was a way for the Eli Broad Museum to distinguish itself, and Seele is (allegedly) holding up that distinction.

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