LACMA Makes a MOCA Motion

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On the very day that the trustees of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art are meeting to consider the grim options in their financial crisis, this just in — the executive committee of the Board of Museum Associates, the non-profit that operates the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, has just presented a plan to the MOCA board outlining the terms of a proposed merger, a proposal a lot of people had been expecting would come.

I’ll quote the language of the LACMA press release, which doesn’t provide many details of those “terms”.

The goal of this plan would be to preserve the independence and integrity of both institutions while combining their operations and infrastructure. The proposal in non-binding.

The announcement goes on to say that “a merger would be constituted among the volunteer not-for-profit boards and additional private funding sources” — which it doesn’t name — “and would not involve financial support from Los Angeles county.” MOCA’s collection and programs would be exhibited at the Geffen Contemporary — a MOCA satellite facility — and also at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum on the LACMA campus and the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion that’s presently under construction there, “with additional program planned for the Grand Avenue site” — meaning MOCA’s main, Arato Isozaki-designed building.

In the release, LACMA Chair Andrew Gordon is quoted as saying:

A merger of Board leadership, including some of MOCA’s founders and artists, could provide a unique platform for the preservation and growth of MOCA’s programs, under MOCA’s name, with expanded facilities, in combination with a strong director and management team already in place.

A few questions: Is that last sentence a way of saying the combined institution would keep MOCA Director Jeremy Strick in his job? Or would the “strong director” be LACMA’s head Michael Govan? And what does this entire proposal mean for the $30 million rescue offer from Eli Broad? Was Broad consulted on the LACMA merger idea? Could it put LACMA at odds with one of its own biggest benefactors?

UPDATE: The MOCA board has decided to meet again on Thursday. The plot thickens.

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