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.”