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Stay Tuned: News Coming About MOCA This Week

The Los Angeles Times is back on the MOCA case. Over the weekend (today’s paper, I think, but online yesterday), they let director Jeffrey Deitch have another stab at telling his side of the story, which he has been unable to do successfully a couple of times in the past. Before we get to that, though, he did suggest that the week ahead would bring developments. The article’s penultimate paragraph says:

Deitch says that two “significant’ new trustees will join the board within days, and he intends to recruit new artists to the board to replace Ed Ruscha, Catherine Opie, Barbara Kruger and John Baldessari. The core of his board and staff, he declares, is now fully behind him.

I find his locutions amusing. Does he think other trustees are insignificant?

But let’s let that pass, and wait to see who these people are: their names will be telling. Would any artist sign up now? Would truly independent people, unbeholden to megapatron Eli Broad, sign up? We’ll see.

In the article, Deitch tries to defend his stance and his record at MOCA — noting that he has boosted attendance to record levels, is taming the museum’s budget troubles, and is generating scholarship for such exhibits as The Painting Factory: Abstraction After Andy Warhol (on view through Aug. 20).

But the article’s sources are very telling. On Deitch’s side, the paper cites “Aaron Rose, who co-curated “Art in the Streets,” MOCA’s exhibition on the history of graffiti and street art, for Deitch” and artist Shepard Fairey, who has a contract to develop a graphic identity for MOCA. Not exactly unbeholden to Deitch, are they?

On the other side, there’s Lenore S. Greenberg, a MOCA life trustee, who “says the museum’s problems stem from Deitch’s programming decisions as well as new board members who ‘are not familiar with what their responsibilities are’ ” and then added, “The board is dysfunctional, and I don’t think the director is functional either.”

She’s a significant trustee.


an ArtsJournal blog