The art press and art blogosphere are all a-Twitter over an article in last Friday’s L.A. Times suggesting that New York big-man art dealer Jeffrey Deitch is among the top candidates for the directorship of L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art. You’ll recall that MOCA has been without a leader (save for Eli Broad’s not so behind-the-scenes machinations) since Jeremy Strick resigned in disgrace over his poor handling of MOCA’s finances, which nearly ran the institution into the ground. Read more
For those of you who’ve been following MOCA’s meltdown (see sidebar links to Meg’s previous posts on this subject)Â and the Rose Art Museum’s deaccessioning debacle at Brandeis, there are a few interesting updates of the linkie sort I’d like to draw your attention to, in case you haven’t already seen them.
First, in the ‘where are they now’ category: two extensive, multi-part interviews with major MOCA players, one still hanging in there, the other out the door in a flash, have appeared within the last couple of weeks over at the Arts Journal blogs. Tyler Green of Modern Art Notes posts a four (!)-part interview with MOCA senior curator Paul Schimmel on the future of the institution, which sounds super-rosy and no less ambitious than before, according to Mr. Schimmel. Find ‘em here: Part one, part two, part three, and part four.
Next, there’s CultureGrrl aka Lee Rosenbaum’s two-part interview with Jeremy Strick about his post-MOCA post as the new director of the Nasher Museum: part one of her interview can be found here; part two, here. Strick seems to have landed very well, I must say; there’s hardly a speck of dust on him.
Lastly, the latest on The Rose Art Museum. From my understanding of the state of things now (mostly via this post on The Art Law Blog, which I got to via this one on Art Fag City), Brandeis has backpedaled from its original plans to sell off the Museum’s collection–now they’re saying that only “a limited number” of pieces will be sold “if the need arises in the future.” It’s anyone’s guess as to what’s true and what’s p.r. spin, but tonight, Monday March 16th, a symposium titled “Preserving Trust: Art and the Art Museum amidst Financial Crisis” will take place from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at The Rose Art Museum. You can view the discussion in real time, as it will also be streamed live, and posted on YouTube afterwards.Â Here’s an excerpt from the Symposium blurb:
This symposium is prompted by the global controversy over the recently proposed closing of Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum and the selling of some or all of its permanent collection of modern and contemporary art, in order to meet general university financial needs. At a time of financial crisis, what is the utility of art and of museums, in universities and in other contexts? Is art the most dispensable and disposable of assets when times are tough? Conversely, might art and museums be understood as especially valuable at moments of economic and social distress, helping to remind a society of its core values, exposing citizens to cultural difference, and providing vital spaces for community-building and democratic debate?
- Claire Messud
- Robert Pinsky
- Stephen Greenblatt
- Katy Graddy
- Dirck Roosevelt
- Andreas Teuber
- Brian Friedberg and Liz McDonough
Moderator: Mark Auslander
Note: The proceedings will be streamed live on the Cultural Production ustream channel, and also posted on YouTube. Co-coordinators: Mark Auslander, Dirck Roosevelt, Ramie Targoff, Andreas Teuber
We all saw this coming: Jeremy Strick to resign…or not?
“One member of the museumâ€™s Board of Trustees, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Strick had resigned during a ‘tearful’ scene at a meeting of the board. A MOCA spokeswoman, however, denied that…”
It sounds as if the board might accept Eli Broads offer.
“The agreement, which the board voted on at a long meeting Thursday afternoon, is not final and is subject to numerous conditions, including Mr. Broadâ€™s examinations of the museumâ€™s financial accounts, according to the people, two of whom attended the meeting on Thursday.”
Los Angeles mayor Villaraigosa makes a plea to MOCA
“His letter to board co-chairmen Tom Unterman and David Johnson asks that the board take time to thoroughly review its options and set aside 30 days to allow the public an opportunity to provide input before a decision is made.”
Eli Broad asks LACMA to show him the money.
“The question, he said, is which bailout carries a stronger guarantee of secure funding for MOCAâ€™s endowment and exhibitions: his $30-million offer or LACMA’s merger proposal, to which no price tag has been publicly attached.”
Last week I reblogged that LA’s MOCA was having some serious financial problems. Here is a brief recap of last week’s events.
Following the report of MOCA’s woes Jeremy Strick sent an e -letter in response to the report. In the LA Time’s post a reader points out that MOCA’s 990 statement posted to Guidstar.com shows that Strick not only makes about half a million a year but also that the institution has loaned him about another half mill for a house. The comments are totally worth checking out.
On the 20th art critic Christopher Knight asked the two questions: “Are you freakin’ kidding me? What on Earth do you think you’re doing?”
Then it looked as if MOCA had been looking to LACMA for a bailout.
On Friday Eli Broad, who was a founding chairman for MOCA, had announced that he would be willing to help them out with a $30 million donation if other people would also help.
There have been a lot of good discussions going on Culture Monster’s (not to be confused with C-Monster) posts this past week. Many readers have been blaming the museum’s lack of publicity and what some have claimed to be too high of salaries for it’s directors. In the past 5 years or so MOCA has had some really big shows. They had the Warhol Retrospective in 2002, the Basquiat retro in 2005, Masters of American Comics in 2005, WACK in 2007, and Murakami’s huge show this past summer, all of which were packed when I saw them (I am from LA). Maybe they do not have as many visitors as the Art Institute but I’m sure their attendance rate is not hurting so bad, maybe I’m wrong. It just seems that all of this comes down to horrible financial planning and poor fundraising. If Broad does help them out, what is MOCA going to do to make sure this doesn’t happen again?