Broad Art Center at UCLA
It's no secret that UCLA has one of the best art departments in the country. But it's been hard, in the old art building, to find space to display work by MFA students and a faculty that includes John Baldessari, Lari Pittman, Jennifer Bolande and Catherine Opie. The often unconventional projects from the Design / Media Arts department, which includes Christian Moeller and Jennifer Steinkamp, are often even more difficult to display. The new Eli and Edythe Broad Art Center will showcase that work for the public -- in the New Wight Gallery and EDA (experimental digital arts) space -- and give the university's arts departments a more comfortable home than the old concrete, warren-like Dickson Art Center. Designed by Richard Meier and the head of his L.A. office, Michael Palladino, the new center will have a lighter, more open aesthetic with wood sunscreens and enormous, north-facing windows. The university's goal is to transform the culture-centric north end of campus, not only with this adaptive reuse but with the 42.5-ton torqued ellipse sculpture by Richard Serra on the center's plaza, near a 5-acre sculpture garden that already includes work by Alexander Calder, Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore and Isamu Noguchi.
\o7Eli and Edythe Broad Art Center at UCLA and the exhibitions "Sixteen Tons" and "Second Natures" open Thursday. More at www.arts.ucla.edu.
Denver Art Museum
Daniel Libeskind, whose reputation soared with the Jewish Museum Berlin and collapsed with the failure of his plans for the World Trade Center site, gets another chance with a big, visible American project -- the new Frederic C. Hamilton Building at the Denver Art Museum. The ceilings and walls are reportedly angled in a dramatic, perhaps vertigo-inducing way, and the Modern and contemporary art will be displayed on a floor that seems to be tilted. The whole 146,000-square-foot building, with a 75,000-square-foot pedestrian plaza, is costing $90.5 million. Appropriately enough, 100 or so of the city's arts organizations will help kick off the opening, among them the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, which will perform Daniel Kellogg's newly commissioned "Refracted Skies" on Friday.
\o7Denver Art Museum's Frederic C. Hamilton Building opens Oct. 7. More at www.denverartmuseum.org.
Institute of Contemporary Art
Long Boston's most important cutting-edge venue, the Institute of Contemporary Art has been crammed into a tight Back Bay space without a permanent collection or storage. But a new $51-million expansion by Diller Scofidio + Renfro will triple the gallery space, thrust the 62,000-square-foot edifice over the sea, add a 325-seat theater and allow the ICA to collect for the first time. What ICA Director Jill Medvedow calls a "brief hiccup" has delayed the opening of Boston's first new museum in nearly 100 years, but it should be only a few weeks away. This glass edifice could be a feast for architecture lovers: The New York-based collective is among the most art savvy of architectural firms, known for its experimental work, including collaborations with dancers and installations such as those that have appeared at Paris' Cartier Foundation and New York's Museum of Modern Art.
\o7Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, opens this fall on the city's waterfront. More at www.icaboston.org. \f7
Fashion + Architecture
Sounds tricky, doesn't it? But fashion and architecture actually have a lot in common, including a shared interest in protecting the human body. An exhibition curated by Brooke Hodge of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, will count the ways, arranging material along thematic lines, including "Shelter," "Identity" and "Creative Process." Hodge takes her inspiration from the early '80s, when Japanese fashion designers presented tattered, hole-ridden black clothing at the same time Bernard Tschumi, Peter Eisenman and Jacques Derrida were talking about deconstruction in architecture and language. "For designers in both fields," Hodge writes, "the early 1980s were characterized by a struggle for liberation from convention that involved experimentation with new forms and an openness to ideas and techniques from other disciplines to inspire radically different approaches to design." The show, which may be the first ever to include mannequins wearing Vivienne Westwood's punk street wear alongside the models and renderings of works by Herzog & de Meuron, opens Nov. 19 and will take up the museum's entire Grand Avenue location.
\o7"Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture," the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Nov. 19 through March 5. More at www.moca.org.