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Michigan State University museum is a work of art

Associated Press Modified: November 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm •  Published: November 14, 2012

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Long a subject of fascination for passers-by, the futuristic Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University is itself a contemporary work of art.

With its angular facade of pleated stainless steel and glass, the 46,000-square-foot structure dubbed "the spaceship" by students and visitors alike sits in stark contrast to the red brick, Collegiate Gothic-style buildings that surround it at the East Lansing campus.

The look of the Broad (pronounced BROHD) is the brainchild of Zaha Hadid, the Iraqi-born, Pritzker Prize-winning architect who designed the aquatic center for the London Olympics and currently is at work on dozens of projects around the world.

While the $40 million building features Hadid's unique imprint, it owes its very existence to its namesake benefactors.

Eli Broad, a Los Angeles billionaire and Michigan State graduate, and his wife, Edythe, have given millions to fund art museums and exhibitions in southern California.

But when he was approached a number of years ago by Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon about the idea of expanding the campus' Kresge Art Museum, Eli Broad said he "encouraged (Simon) to think about something bigger."

The Broads made a commitment of $26 million (later increased to $28 million), Simon found the land along Grand River and a design competition began, resulting in the selection of Hadid's firm.

Five years later, the Broad MSU became a reality this past weekend when it was formally dedicated and opened its doors to the public for the first time.

The three-level structure includes gallery space for special exhibitions, modern and contemporary art, new media, photography and works on paper. Other features include an education wing, a works on paper study center, shop and café. Adjacent to the museum is an outdoor sculpture garden and a pedestrian plaza.

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