The A-Z MOCA Scandal Index

by Corinna Kirsch on March 14, 2013 · 1 comment Newswire

Courtesy Susan Silton

In case you missed it, MOCA’s in the news again. Board member and philanthropist Eli Broad has missed the last two payments of his promised $30 million to the museum and now LACMA is proposing a merger. So too, is the distant National Gallery of Art in D.C.

This all follows a seemingly never-ending stream of news about the museum ranging from the 2010 hiring of New York Dealer Jeffrey Deitch as the museum’s head to the firing (or dismissal) of MoCA head curator Paul Schimmel. There are an enormous number of billionaires, egos and op-eds to track, and new gossip keeps rolling in every day, so we’ve come up with a means to streamline all that information: The A-Z MoCA Scandal Index. It’s our definitive guide to navigating the MoCA mess, and we hope you find it as useful as we do.

We recommend clicking on “R” for “Recap” if you’re totally new to the story.

ABCDEFGHIJKL,MNOP,QRSTUV,
WXYZ

A

Acronym punditry
Term proposed by ARTINFO’s Benjamin Sutton to describe the imagined LACMA-MOCA merger acronyms proliferating the net. LOCA, LACMACA, and LOCA have all been tabled.

Annenberg, Wallis
Billionaire board member

"B" is for "Broad".

B

Baldessari, John
One of MOCA’s three artist board members who resigned in 2012 after Paul Schimmel’s resignation. Currently, there are no artists serving on the board.

The Broad
Opening in 2014, the Broad Art Foundation’s contemporary art museum, will be located just down the street from MOCA on Grand Avenue, aka Wysteria Lane.

The Broad Art Foundation
One of the Broad family’s four foundations.

Broad, Eli
Billionaire philanthropist, lifetime trustee at MOCA and LACMA, namesake of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, writer of many public letters in the Los Angeles Times.

Where to begin? Problems began back in 2008 when Broad, in an attempt to rescue the museum from financial insolvency, agreed to give the museum a multi-million-dollar bailout plan, but as long as it stayed independent and didn’t merge with any institution located within a 100-mile-radius. With a proposal set forth by LACMA, which Michael Govan states was initiated by the MOCA board, it appears his agreement might not be so solid. To date, he has declined to comment on LACMA’s proposal.

Burton, Betye
One of four MOCA lifetime trustees who wrote a public complaint about the museum’s future in the aftermath of Schimmel’s departure and MOCA’s “celebrity-driven program”.

C

Curators
C is for curators, of which MOCA has just two. This is down from a staff of seven curators in 2009.

Cohen, Steve
Billionaire board member
Currently, Cohen’s hedge fund company is under investigation by the federal government for insider trading, but he still manages to give millions of dollars in art to MoMA.

"D" is for "Deitch".

D

Deitch, Jeffrey
Director, MOCA
Deitch was brought to MOCA in 2010. Previously, he served as founder and director of New York’s Deitch Projects. Since his arrival, many have noted an increasingly entertainment-driven program, unmatched by the museum knocking a Jack Goldstein retrospective off its schedule for a show of paintings by the late actor Dennis Hopper.

Destroy the Picture: Painting the void 1949-1962
Chief Curator Paul Schimmel’s final exhibition at MOCA.

"E" is for "enemies", i.e. David Geffen, pictured here, is enemies with Eli Broad.

E

Eli Broad
Billionaire
See Broad, Eli.

Enemies
What happens when two egos butt heads: Eli Broad and David Geffen are enemies.

F

Fire in the Disco
Around the time of Schimmel’s departure in July 2012, and complaints about Deitch’s “celebrity-driven” programming, there were rumors that an upcoming disco-themed exhibition, curated by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, had been cancelled.

Fischer, Urs
Artist
In April, MOCA will launch an exhibition of Urs Fischer’s work, just three years behind the New Museum’s solo show in 2010.

Fucked.
See MOCA.

"G" is for "Govan".

G

GIFs
In March 2013, C-Monstah tells the story of LACMA and MOCA in reaction GIFs.

Greenberg, Lenore S.
One of four MOCA lifetime trustees who wrote a public complaint about the museum’s future in the aftermath of Schimmel’s departure and MOCA’s “celebrity-driven program”.

Govan, Michael
Director, LACMA, former Director, DIA
Govan released a public letter—everyone in Los Angeles seems to do this—announcing that MOCA had approached LACMA to make a proposal for merging the two museums. Will LACMA “take over” the museum? Will it be an “art marriage”? Based on Govan’s letter, we don’t know any details of the merger. That hasn’t stopped speculation.

Geffen, David
Billionaire
In 1996, The David Geffen Foundation granted MOCA $5 million dollars and renamed their contemporary wing The Geffen Contemporary. He will have nothing to do with board though, so long as his enemy Eli Broad is involved.

"Dennis Hopper Double Standard" at MoCA's Geffen Contemporary. Image courtesy of the LA Times.

H

Hopper, Dennis
Late actor and artist whose show replaced the scheduled Jack Goldstein Exhibition in 2010. Critics were not happy.

I

Irmas, Audrey
One of four MOCA lifetime trustees who wrote a public complaint about the museum’s future in the aftermath of Schimmel’s departure and MOCA’s “celebrity-driven program”.

J

Johnson, David
MOCA Board Chairman

K

Knight, Christopher
Art critic, the Los Angeles Times
Knight has been the go-to reporter for anything MOCA-related. He’s got it covered, and he’s been doing a bang up job.

L

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
An encyclopedic museum located in Los Angeles, headed up by Michael Govan. The idea for a merger between LACMA and MOCA was first thrown around during 2008, giving rise to Eli Broad’s demands that with his bailout, there would be no merger between the two.

M

MOCA Mobilization
Founded in 2008 during the first MOCA financial crisis, the civilian group protested against any potential mergers between MOCA and any other group. Seeing the museum’s downward trajectory over the past five years, the group has changed its mind, and would be open to a museum merger.

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
A contemporary art museum located in downtown Los Angeles, headed up by Jeffrey Deitch.

N

National Gallery of Art
The wildcard for partnering with MOCA, according to theLos Angeles Times, “the terms might include a five-year agreement but no financial support”. Potentially, there could be shared programs and exhibitions, but no deep pockets.

Nicholas, Frederick M.
One of four MOCA lifetime trustees who wrote a public complaint about the museum’s future in the aftermath of Schimmel’s departure and MOCA’s “celebrity-driven program”.

"O" is for "Opie".

O

Opie, Catherine
One of MOCA’s three artist board members who resigned in 2012 after Paul Schimmel’s resignation. Currently, there are no artists serving on the board.

She has been vocal about her dissatisfaction with MOCA, and publicly released her resignation letter in The Los Angeles Times.

P

Victor Pinchuk
A philanthropist, MOCA board member, and the 255tn wealthiest man in the world according to Forbes. Pinchuk has a net worth of $4.4 billion, but MOCA’s still got terrible financial problems!

Q

Quit
See Baldessari, Opie, Ruiz, Ruscha, Schimmel, Simpson.

R

Recap
Here’s the story so far: Despite packing their board with millionaires and billionares, MOCA has been in financial trouble for some time. Except for Eli Broad, it seems like nobody’s emptying their pockets. In 2008, MOCA Trustee Eli Broad stepped in to offer the museum money as long as they promised not to merge with any museum located within 100 miles of downtown Los Angeles. That pact, some fear, is about to be broken as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has offered a merger. Will the board members go with a merger from LACMA, or an exhibition swap with the National Gallery, another museum rumored to be vying for merger opportunities? What influence will Eli Broad have in all these negotiations? We may never know the full details to that last question, but come March 15th, the museum board will review merger proposals, and maybe then we’ll learn a little more. Or we’ll just get confused.

Ruiz, Alma
Curator
With Bennet Simpson, one of two curators left at MOCA.

Ruscha, Ed
One of MOCA’s three artist board members who resigned in 2012 after Paul Schimmel’s resignation. Currently, there are no artists serving on the board.

"S" is for "Schimmel".

S

Schimmel, Paul
Chief Curator, MOCA
After serving over twenty years at MOCA, Paul Schimmel was let go in June 2012, along with many of the museum’s other curators. Critics of the museum were outraged at the lack of transparency over whether Schimmel was fired. This started a turning point in the museum’s reception, beginning an onslaught of doubt regarding the museum’s financial solvency and programmatic direction.

Simpson, Bennet
Curator
With Alma Ruiz, one of two curators left at MOCA.

Silva, Christopher
Artist
At a 2012 MOCA BYOB event, Silva claims his artwork had been censored by the event’s sponsor, Mercedes-Benz.

T

MOCAtv
MOCA’s YouTube channel
PR-style interviews interspersed with YouTube exhibitions. The channel shows some emerging artists we like, and its low costs makes us think program is probably safe from the chopping board.

U

University of Southern California
U.S.C is rumored to have made an offer for a merger with MOCA as well. Similar to the LACMA proposal, it falls within the 100 mile radius.

Urs Fischer
Exhibition
This April, the artist Urs Fischer the artist will be given an exhibition called Urs Fischer at MOCA.

V

Victor Pinchuk
See Pinchuk, Victor.

Villaraigosa, Antonio
Former Mayor of Los Angeles and MOCA Trustee
In 2008, Villaraigosa weighed in on the state of MOCA’s finances. As tends to happen in Los Angeles, the letter was published in the Los Angeles Times.

W

Wilmerding, John
Director, National Gallery of Art. He has a funny name.

X

Xanax
For dealing with the stress of not knowing what the future holds.

"Y" is for "Young".

Y

Young, Charles
Former MOCA Chief Executive Officer
In July 2012, Young emailed his pal Eli Broad, telling him to fire Jeffrey Deitch.

Z

Zzzzzzzz
Following the MOCA drama isn’t going to keep everyone awake.

Previous post:

Next post: