Michael, a Los Angeles artists (who identified himself to me but did not want me to disclose his last name) responds to The Getty’s Revolving Door: Harmful Brew of Instability and Secrecy:
Michael Brand was flatly the most competent and charismatic leader the Getty has thus far had. From the moment James Wood arrived, he has been diminishing the director’s position. I think he couldn’t stand not being the star.
Obviously, Dr. Brand pulled the institution out of a nose dive and restored them to some modicum of leadership in the art world. Look at the astonishing levels of cooperation he was able to negotiate in the Rembrandt show (31 lenders!).
Any other major institution would have signed him up for life. Dr. Brand obviously loved his position and was incredibly engaged with both the city and with some very forward looking programs (Mexico, India, etc).
I think closer scrutiny will reveal that Wood acted to terminate him. It’s a great loss for Los Angeles.
Peter Linett, a partner in Slover Linett Strategies, a Chicago-based audience research firm for cultural and educational organizations (including work for the Art Institute of Chicago, Whitney Museum, Walters Art Museum), responds to Dealer-to-Director: Why Jeffrey Deitch is Wrong for LA MOCA:
Your running riff on [Jeffrey] Deitch has been (characteristically) fresh air.
To your reservations I would add this: By considering Tobias Meyer from Sotheby’s
and then hiring a dealer in Deitch, the [MOCA] trustees signaled their vision
of the museum as more interested in the profession of art than the
audience for art. It’s a wholesale rather than a retail appointment.
What’s missing on his résumé isn’t just management experience at a
large nonprofit; it’s any responsibility at all for helping non-experts—people who aren’t collectors, curators, fellow dealers, etc.—“get” and fall in love with contemporary art.
The vast majority of
visitors who walk through MOCA’s doors are (for lack
of a better word) general cultural consumers, people who also visit
science and history museums, go to theater and occasionally the LA
Phil—the curious, not the connoisseurs. What about them?
kind of priority will Deitch put on interpretation? Education? What
about 21st-century audience expectations for participatory experiences?
Let’s add these to the not-yet-answered questions.
And on a lighter note, readers have also responded to my first 2010 shout-out [scroll down] for support. My warm thanks go out to CultureGrrl Donor 105 from Austin, Repeat CultureGrrl Donors 106 and 107, from Westminster, CA, and Norman, OK, respectively, and CultureGrrl Donors 108 and 109 from Woodstock and Long Island City, NY. That’s a nice geographic spread!
Have the rest of you noticed that I’ve been blogging very assiduously of late? (Too much, in fact: I’ve got an important article to finish!)