MOCA is losing its power in So-Cal
NEWS. On Thursday, July 13, 2012, renowned artist, John Baldessari resigned from his post on the board of trustees at MOCA. Baldessari’s exit is the fifth MOCA board member to leave since February. “His exit after 12 years is another signal that the old guard of L.A.’s contemporary art scene has grown disenchanted with its direction under Deitch,” according to LA Times writer, Mike Boehm. Baldessari told LA Times that his reasons include the recent ousting of respected chief curator Paul Schimmel and news this week that the pop-cultural slant the museum has taken under director Jeffrey Deitch will continue with an exhibition on disco music’s influence on art and culture. “When I heard about that disco show I had to read it twice. At first I thought ‘this is a joke’ but I realized, no, this is serious. That just reaffirmed my decision,” he said. Many other trustees are concerned and disenchanted with Deitch, and question his inexperience as a fundraiser, and the concentration of power in too few people — especially power-hungry Eli Broad.
Among the five board members who have left this year is Jane Nathanson, a key organizer of many MOCA fundraising events going back to the 80s.After Broad’s 2008 pledge kept MOCA from being merged with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, “it sort of became a one-man show there,” said Nathanson, who had favored the merger. “It’s difficult to maintain engagement on the part of the entire board when the decision-making is limited to a few.” The museum’s board had reached 40 voting members in mid-January, after the addition of New York hedge fund chief Steven A. Cohen. Now the voting roster is down to 35, since the exits s of Baldessari, Nathanson, Steven F. Roth and Gary and Kathi Cypres.
More to come. Stay tuned.