The new Eli and Edythe Broad Art museum opened in East Lansing along with the announcement that they had met their funding goal; which was great news considering that construction had been delayed due to funding issues (and ill-fitting glass). It was amazing watching the building rise from ground up, and I really think the modern design complements the traditional red-brick buildings on the north side of campus, despite the fact that many local people had protested against it.
Given how many people first opposed the Eiffel Tower when it was being built, I doubt that criticism with the design will last very long, especially if the architecture plays a large role in bringing tourists to this area. The art scene in this area of Michigan is more oriented towards crafts, pottery, and vintage furniture, so a fine arts museum brings a breath of fresh air, although I wish the collection had more paintings in addition to the digital art. Compared to the collection at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA, the scale is much smaller, so it feels more petite.
The highlight of the opening was being able to see Eli Broad and Zaha Hadid in person. Ms. Hadid talked about how it was hard to be a foreigner and woman- especially because she did not necessarily have a very compliant personality. Her presence was extremely commanding and charismatic, like a no-nonsense fierce warrior princess who would stand at battle in front of the line, which was in extreme contrast to Mr. Broad, who seemed to be more of the type that is the strategic mastermind behind the scenes.
The opening ceremony crowd was a mix of different people, including people involved in the local arts scene, like Roy Saper of Saper Gallery, Michigan politicians, local people, and university people, including a handful of students. By sheer coincidence, I was seated in a row where there were a lot of millionaire donors (which I only knew because they stood up at some point to be acknowledged) and I very respectfully say that I would not have known they were large donors at all by their looks; perhaps the cultural norms in Michigan encourage them to dress very modestly.
Here are some beautiful photos of the museum, inside and out, from the Zaha Hadid Architects website. The images are linked directly to the website; I do not own any of these images: