William Poundstone
William Poundstone on Art and Chaos

William Poundstone’s Los Angeles County Museum on Fire

Poll: Broad v. the MOCA Four

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By now you’ve probably read Eli Broad’s LAT op-ed on Paul Schimmel’s dismissal and the reply of four fellow MOCA life trustees (Lenore S. Greenberg, Betye Burton, Audrey Irmas, and Frederick M. Nicholas) on MOCA’s direction under Jeffrey Deitch.

Warning: This is a completely unscientific poll. It’s not like it’s the Mohn Prize, OK? But try to read both editorials in full before you vote.

For those who insist on an executive summary, these excerpts probably capture the main points well enough:

Broad writes that

“…it became clear to the board that it needed a director who could create exhibitions that would dramatically increase attendance and membership and make MOCA a populist rather than an insular institution. …the board wisely chose Jeffrey Deitch.… I applaud the decision of MOCA’s director, board leadership and board in right-sizing the staff and adopting a budget that they expect will be balanced in the coming year and in future years.

“I am confident that with Deitch’s leadership and with the board and its leadership, MOCA will thrive and will avoid the problems that are plaguing other institutions while increasing attendance and membership, continuing to offer world-class exhibitions, and exhibiting its collection.”

The MOCA Four write,

“Restoring the artistic and curatorial integrity of MOCA is crucial in regaining its respect and prominence. MOCA has not shepherded its finances well; it has overspent and is now paying the price. But bringing down expenditures does not mean bringing down the caliber of its exhibitions as well.

“The celebrity-driven program that MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch promotes is not the answer. Committed donors contribute to museums that pursue the highest quality programs under prudent financial management. MOCA needs to get back to its core mission and to the kinds of programs that made it the exemplary contemporary art museum that it once was.”

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  1. So far, 22-0 in favor of the MoCA Four. Good!

  2. I don’t think that anyone in the art world supports Broad’s position. The MoCA board deserves every bit of shame and anger that they receive. Not that it will make a difference, as they are mostly entertainment industry people who are clueless about art.

  3. Both Mr. Broad and the 4 other life trustees hold valid points about the museum. But where was everyone — including Broad, Greenberg, Burton, Irmas and Nicholas — before MOCA started to fall apart? Why did they allow the status quo of the past to lead to several years worth of deficit-ridden budgets and — assuming MOCA is a major museum — a surprisingly paltry number of visitors?

  4. Trem 35 is correct, no one cares except the artscene, which is more interested in making it as artistes, partying and avoiding work than actually making something meaningful to our culture, and helping it to evolve. The role of the true creative artist. A rare breed, one that avoids Academies and partyscenes, We got work to do.

    The rest off humanity 99/.9% stopped caring long ago. Thanks artistes.
    It is time to put aside childish things… st Paul and some guy named Obama

  5. MOCA is not the Los Angeles County Museum, an error repeated in the title. LACMA is a separate institution.

  6. by William Poundstone

    Nichole: “Los Angeles County Museum on Fire” is just the name of the blog (which covers museums in greater L.A.) If you look at a few recent posts, you’ll get the idea.

  7. William Poundstone,
    Many thanks for covering the MOCA controversy so diligently. It’s great to find a place where reason prevails.

  8. The Four might now be called the Seven, with the resignation from the Board of artists John Baldesarri, Barbara Kruger, and Catherine Opie.

  9. by BetweenBellies

    Looks like Broad got his PR firm to vote!

    Too bad people who write comments like Trem35 and Donald Frazell have no clue about the *proper* role of lifetime trustees, which is quite unlike the great usurper (or, better, bandit) Broad!

  10. LMAO! Watching the two wings of contempt art flail at each other over their idiocies is highly amusing, and of course absurd. Which end of the egg is the correct end?
    Death to you, Big-endians!

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