MOCA has been broke for years. Finally, like a doting, giving parent, the museum’s board has boosted the endowment to $75 million, up from $22 million at the beginning of March. Last we heard, the board had suddenly announced raising $50 million in commitments but had not yet revealed donor names. Now, a month later, MOCA has offered forth a list of names who are helping them reach that $100 million goal. These donors include current museum board members and their spouses:
Wallis Annenberg, Maria and Bill Bell, Eli and Edythe Broad, Blake Byrne, Steven and Alexandra Cohen, Cliff and Mandy Einstein, Lenore Greenberg, David and Suzanne Johnson, Bruce Karatz and Lilly Tartikoff Karatz, Daniel S. Loeb and Margaret Munzer Loeb, Eugenio Lopez, Lillian Lovelace, Maurice Marciano, Edward J. and Julie Minskoff, Dallas Price-Van Breda, Fred and Carla Sands, Jeffrey and Catharine Soros, Darren Star and Sutton Stracke.
We don’t know what finally threw the board into action—public pressure hadn’t yielded results previously, so it’s unclear why or if that became a factor—but something has transformed these members into a functional fundraising team. Last week, the museum recruited three new board members (two CEOs and one attorney) to replace the artist-members who resigned after Paul Schimmel’s departure last year. We’re a little concerned that the museum has not taken steps to ensure that artists’ voices voice remain a part of their board, but this may be quibbling relative to the dysfunction that’s kept the board from addressing their fiscal troubles.
For the first time in years, MOCA looks like it’s succeeding, whereas up to a month ago, speculation about the museum’s future was rife, and a merger with a LACMA seemed imminent. They found a solution close to home, and it seems like the Los Angeles community had been waiting to see this happen all along. Ann Philbin, Director of the Hammer Museum, told the Los Angeles Times she was hoping for “something wonderful like all the billionaires on the board decide to write very huge checks and save MOCA in a real way.”