Richard Hamilton is enjoying a revival, but MOCA won’t be part of the celebration. Suddenly, MOCA has withdrawn from an agreement to host the first large-scale retrospective of the British pop artist, and just weeks after the departure of the exhibition’s co-curator Paul Schimmel from his position as MOCA’s chief curator.
The exhibition had been in the making for years, and is co-curated by Schimmel and Vicente Todoli, the former director of London’s Tate Modern. According to The Art Newspaper, Schimmel will “continue to be involved with the exhibition,” but there will no longer be a Los Angeles stop on the exhibition schedule.
MOCA’s future isn’t looking bright: a major museum ends up dropping an important, historical exhibition from its schedule, and for what? Hamilton’s pop irony, and his own rigorous belief in the power of pop as “fundamentally a statement of belief in the changing values of society,” allies itself with the museum’s current trajectory of exhibition-cum-art parties. It would have been a punchy academic exhibition, and Los Angeles and Philadelphia would have been the exhibition’s only stops in the United States.