Two days before Christmas, it looks like the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art has accepted Eli Broad as Santa Claus. The L.A. Times is reporting on its arts blog that the museum’s trustees have accepted Broad’s offer of up to $15 million in matching funds for its endowment and another $15 million in operating expenses over five years. In addition, the museum gets an overseer — UCLA Chancellor Emeritus Charles E. Young will become MOCA’s first CEO. (Which I take to mean he’ll be in charge of assuring that the museum doesn’t burn through its rescue money the way it spent down its endowment in recent years.) As far as the matching funds are concerned, MOCA co-chairmen Tom Unterman and David Johnson are saying that MOCA trustees have “pledged or promised” more than $20 million in new gifts since MOCA’s desperate situation became news last month.
The agreement with Broad includes a 90-day window for other interested parties to come forward and replace the Broad offer “on identical terms”. I’ll take that to be a message to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which last week proposed a “merger” with MOCA, but not with the same amounts up front for the MOCA endowment.