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Artist and Former L.A. MOCA Board Member Catherine Opie’s Take on LACMA’s Merger Move

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catherine-opie-lacma-mocaThe photographer Catherine Opie, one of four artists who resigned from their positions on the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Los Angeles last year, has been very critical of the decisions made in recent years by institution’s administration, which received an offer earlier this week from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) that would have the latter, much larger museum take over MOCA. ARTINFO reached Opie earlier today to ask the artist for her thoughts about the merger proposal.

“I don’t know what’s going on with MOCA, I know there’s a LACMA offer on the table and personally I think that would amazing,” Opie told ARTINFO on Friday. “LACMA has an amazing ability to raise money, Michael Govan has done an incredible job with that campus. If he feels like he can take that on and turn things around it would be incredible.”

In spite of MOCA’s reputation for being an artists’ museum rather than a larger, encyclopedic institution in the LACMA mold, Opie sees no fundamental opposition between the two institutions’ sensibilities that would detract from the merger’s appeal.

“Michael is an artist-centered director just like Jeffrey [Deitch],” she said. “I don’t see that as being a problem. When this came up [in 2008] when LACMA was in the mix for MOCA I was one of the few people who thought it was a good idea back then. [L.A.] is a really hard town to raise money in. If it was a different philanthropic community then everybody could sustain with their own little pod of people. Even though Hollywood has so much money, historically it doesn’t seem like people are writing huge checks that are needed for MOCA not to go down this path.”

— Yasmine Mohseni, ARTINFO Los Angeles

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