an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me

LA MOCA’s Crisis Fact-Sheet Scenario: Keep Identity and Programing, Expand Collection, Raise $$$$

LA MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary: Closing Jan 6 to June 30

Because there’s been so much concern and speculation about the endangered LA MOCA, I thought I’d publish the fact sheet just issued by the financially beleaguered institution. The clinchers, which come at the end, are these:

MOCA is exploring several options, and in doing so talking to many partners in the Los Angeles community….All options entail MOCA retaining its identity, programing and expanding its permanent collection….Internal board discussions will continue with no fundamental resolutions determined at this time.

Here’s the full fact sheet, including some frightening financials:

MOCA Today
MOCA has achieved unparalleled success since its inspired founding in 1979, and the museum continues to fulfill its mission “to be the defining museum of contemporary art.” For three decades, MOCA has realized an acclaimed program of ambitious exhibitions, and our renowned permanent collection of nearly 6,000 works is among the finest in the country. Today, the museum is proud to present Louise Bourgeois, “Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective” and “Index: Conceptualism in California from the Permanent Collection,” and MOCA continues to tour our groundbreaking monographic and thematic exhibitions, “WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution” and “©MURAKAMI,” to prestigious institutions worldwide.

Like many cultural, retail, banking and automotive institutions, MOCA’s financial stability is vulnerable as a result of this unprecedented economic climate. In evaluating our long-term sustainability, MOCA first and foremost acknowledges that we have a responsibility to safeguard the museum and its collection against the difficult times the country is experiencing now and ahead.

To this end, the MOCA Board of Directors are currently evaluating several scenarios that could lead to securing long-term viability for the museum, and plans to reach a solution within the next 90 days. Until that time, MOCA is functioning at its full capacity, welcomes the community to visit its world-renowned contemporary art collection, and is fundraising and conducting business as normal.

Financial Information

The financial information that is currently publicly available through Guidestar (2006 990) represents MOCA’s most recent audited financial information for MOCA’s Fiscal Year ended 6/30/07.
MOCA’s auditors have not yet completed their review of the last completed fiscal year ending 6/30/08. 2007 990s will be available March 2009.

Status of Endowment Borrowing

As per the 2007 audited financial statement, current level of endowment borrowing is ($17,167,257).
Please note that Unrestricted Net Asset deficit of ($7,526,799) as reported in the 2006 990 and quoted in the Los Angeles Times article of 11/19/08, is inclusive of the book value of MOCA’s property and other assets valued at $9,640,458, which are illiquid.

Invested Value of Endowment

As per 2006 990, invested value of endowment at 6/30/07 is $19,799,926
Funds related to investments in the endowment have been affected substantially by the downturn in the economy.

Current Fiscal Year 2008 Operating Budget

$21 million after cost saving measures

Current Fiscal Year 2008 Estimated Deficit
MOCA’s goal is to close the fiscal year with a balanced budget.


Since spring 2008, MOCA was working actively on a plan for a campaign to launch in the fall 2008. With the dramatic change in the economy, it was clear that the plans could not be realized and therefore MOCA is accelerating its fundraising to ensure its continuing health.

Proposed Budget Cuts

MOCA has made a 10% reduction in fiscal year 2008 operating budget.
The Geffen Contemporary will be closed from Jan 6 to June 30, 2009.
“Morphosis” moves to August 2009 from Spring 2009. “MOCA FOCUS Drew Heitzler” moves to June 2009 from Spring 2009. Luisa Lambri moves to 2010 from spring 2009, “Dan Graham: Beyond” moves to MOCA Grand Avenue and opens same time in February 2009.


Each year, MOCA’s staffing needs fluctuate based on the exhibition schedule. Part-time staff is relied on for these exhibitions, based on areas of expertise. Currently, 47% of MOCA’s workforce is made up of part time staff.
There are no planned staff reductions at this time, but the specter of further cost reduction is real as MOCA moves toward its long-term viability.

 • Proposed Partnerships

MOCA is exploring several options, and in doing so talking to many partners in the Los Angeles community. With its reputation, MOCA has a great variety of opportunities to jointly serve contemporary art in LA with a variety of LA partners. All options entail MOCA retaining its identity, programming and expanding its permanent collection.

Meeting of the MOCA Board of Trustees 11/19/08

The Board met on 11/19/08 to discuss status and options. Internal board discussions will continue with no fundamental resolutions determined at this time.

an ArtsJournal blog