Saturday, January 12, 2013


For those who have had trouble accessing my Slow Looking site, the link appears now to be working.  It is, however, for some reason, not as smooth and instantaneous as I'd like it to be.  Please exercise your best patience for the few suspenseful seconds it takes to actually connect!

Yesterday after posting my entry I clicked over to my Facebook page to see if I could engage others in a dialogue about the word--and the qualities of a--gentleman.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered there that Eli Broad wants to be my friend!

For those who may have dozed through the last few decades, Eli--my new friend deserves first name familiarity--is the zillionaire philanthropist and patron of the arts whose massive influence in the culture of Los Angeles has frequently proved controversial.  Is he the evil despot or the genuine, pure-minded benefactor?  (A bit of both, I suspect, like the rest of us.)

Anyway, coming upon his friend request, of course I clicked "Accept."  Given the dribble of revenues from my books, I could use some friends like this!  Having thus speedily accepted, I was notified, to my astonishment, that "Eli has 3 friends."  Only three?  Poor Eli!  And, one line further on: "Eli needs more friends.  Can you help him?"

This is, I swear it, true.  (Or is someone having fun?)

So here I am, doing my best for Eli, asking you to friend him.  Three friends is not enough for such a man.  Well, four at this point, counting me.  I can tell you with some assurance that he's a nice person, in person.  A gentleman--to return to the issue I was originally concerned with.  I have interviewed him in the past on art world matters and found him, yes, to be a thoroughly nice person.  Okay, powerful.  And he has a zillion dollars.  Please don't hold that against him.  He's just a rich guy--well, a super, super, super rich guy--determined to use his wealth to create of Los Angeles, his adoptive city, the greatest cultural center in the world.

No wonder that he gets to be everybody's scapegoat.  He needs friends.


Anonymous said...

I made the effort to be Mr. Broad's friend a few years ago and he ignored my request, nice to see he is now reaching out. SR


I was Eli's friend 32 years ago during the formation of MOCA as one of a small group of artists who were asked by Mayor Tom Bradley and Marcia Wiesman to engage their community and the patrons of contemporary art. The Artists Advisory Council did get to know Eli and many other patrons of art in quite and intimate settings where the values that nurture contemporiay art making, collecting and the critique that can support excellence. Eli was convivial and of course articulate as one would expect of a refined gentleman to be. Thirty two years later my friendship is more than deteriorated. I now see him in a far different light across the street from MOCA where he is busy building a house for his very large collection in a very expensive building which, I think, will be called The Broad. I've never begrudged him for collecting contemporary art, though the majority of his collection is reflective of market driven work. Why he only has four friends strikes me as extreamly odd unless he has, as of two days ago, just opened a Facebook page. Does this busy philanthropist have the time to relspond to likely hundreds of friends? If the many who live their lives making or working in the feild of art he could have what could become a full time job. I wonder if this site is an avatar for alternative critique. For fun I will rejoin Eli in the discourse that can lead to enlightenment.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks for the history, Gary. An interesting review...