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Thursday 08.09.12

« Remote Events and Vanished Objects at PSU | Main | Last Show at Worksound on Alder »

Recent developments

The end-game picture at MOCA is becoming clearer and man is it a tough one. Bloomberg reports that Eli Broad has been purposefully missing payments to MOCA because the museum has 2.1 million dollars in unspent exhibition grant funds. Also, pledges from other funders are being witheld as well because Broad is perceived as too influential. It also indicates that MOCA will be announcing 2 major new board members. This is all very interesting because it shows how Deitch is in a major catch 22.

Analysis: Many assume that Broad is simply pulling all the stings but it is much more complicated than that, Broad is a former accountant and has strict guidelines. Unlike many I don't believe Broad is the real problem, Deitch is. Broad stepped in because nobody else would, but Deitch is trying to remake a museum without any finesse... Museum directors are all about smoothing things out. Instead, Deitch as a director has been brash yet dead in the water until he can activate the board and grow MOCA beyond Broad's life support. Attendance (which was at an all time high last year) is only part of a 3 legged solution and without the other 2 legs of board involvement and respect a museum cannot stand. It must annoy Broad to no end that the conversation always comes around to him and unless Deitch's major announcement of 2 board members changes that dynamic he is on borrowed time. Deitch has got 2 strikes already, the forced resignation of Paul Schimmel burnt the good faith with serious art patrons (the announcement of an eventual replacement for Chief Curator can't undo this breach of trust and seems diversionary) and the exit of Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari, Catherine Opie and Barbara Kruger struck at the founding principles of MOCA as an adventurous laboratory for artists. This founding principle has been what Deitch has been dismantling and the second it became obvious to everyone it was a big problem (Schimmel was the Deitch firewall).

Predictions: If Deitch survives by virtue of these two new board members (only through pumping in cash, i.e. millions in a long term gift) it will change MOCA into something different than it once was and it will be a desperate move (when isn't it with MOCA, Deitch's real job is to keep MOCA from being desperate like this). Yet if I were placing a bet the odds are 10 to 1 against Deitch because these board members will be seen as destroying MOCA instead of saving it by propping up Deitch with $$$. Let's see how this plays out... but I sense Deitch has seen this and has been building an exit strategy. When Deitch announces new board members... it either doesn't bring in enough cash or backfires as being seen as money vs. the founding artist's original intent. Either way Deitch ends up leaving because it is the only way to appease the now galvanized culture aficionados that Deitch has purposefully alienated (an exit strategy by blaming intellectual elites, how American!). Deitch's original plan as director could have worked but losing Schimmel made that impossible because he came to personally embody that contract between artists and the institution. Right now Deitch isn't being allowed to be Jeffrey Deitch in this situation and I see him as trying to save himself with both hands tied behind his back. He's never been an escape artist and the best thing for MOCA would be to bring in 2 new board members who are active and then leave. Those two board members could spearhead a new director search that is not driven by Broad (whom I actually think wants to not be responsible for such things, his appointment of Deitch was an overcorrection).

Two Portland grad students step right into the MOCA mess...

Does it bode well for Portland's CAN initiative up for a vote in November that suburban voters in Detroit have chosen to support a museum with a tax? If Detroit can do something surely Portland can?

For you quantum mechanics nuts out there, spooky action has been caught on camera for the first time.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 09, 2012 at 10:45 | Comments (1)


First, Broad plans to endow his own museum that is being built across from MoCA to the tune of $200 million. This is four times the largest dollars MoCA ever worked with in its entire history. Exhibition space will be 50,000 sq. ft. Debuts in 2013.

The J. Paul Getty Trust is gearing up to organise a sequel to its successful collaborative project, “Pacific Standard Time (PST)”, in “five or six years’ time”, says the trust’s chief executive and president James Cuno. This version may include the entire Pacific Rim.

Regen Projects is moving to Hollywood. The new 20,000-square-foot gallery space opens 9.22.2012. It's LA's second mega gallery at this size.

The HUB Foundation will be commissioning projects for exhibition in LA:

YBA collector Kay Saatchi has moved to Los Angeles:

Saatchi is moving to Los Angeles after 25 years in London as a major YBA patron. (She and ex-husband, advertising magnate and private museum owner, Charles Saatchi, divorced in 2001.)

LAXART is getting a much larger exhibition space

A Gavin Brown Enterprises director is looking at a large space in East Los Angeles for special projects

Various Small Fires project space has opened in Venice, CA. The owner/director is one of the mains of the Performa Biennial.

The California Pacific Rim Trienniale opens in 2013 at the Orange County Museum of Art, curated by OCMA Chief Curator Dan Cameron. It will cover California and the entire Pacific Rim.
OCMA is also getting a major new building.

Paris Photo fair debuts in LA in 2013 at Paramount Film Studios Hollywood

The LA Art Show is now owned by Palm Beach Art Show Group and plans it to be a major artworld event. http://www.laartshow.com/

Dana Point, CA painter John McLaughlin is getting two Southern California retrospectives from his elevation in Pacific Standard Time. OCMA first, then LACMA in 2014.

German private collector and billionaire Nicolas Berggruen is building up a collection for LACMA

Posted by: LAEye [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 12, 2012 03:19 PM

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