MOCA Leadership & Their Museums
Jeffrey Deitch will bid adieu to the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Best Coast and head back to New York, where his genius is appreciated and where he is already curating a show. Poor Deitch, un-hip, philistine LA just didn’t get him. The biggest Deitch defender in the press has been Art in the Streets associate curator (non-MOCA curator) Aaron Rose: “We had something going in L.A., and it’s over now. Jeffrey’s resigning is really a statement about what the city is. All people in L.A. want is interior design. They want paintings to put over the couch.” Let’s leave generalizations about “people in L.A.” out of this Aaron Rose, and take a moment to remember that time New York Times Magazine did a spread on “Jeffrey’s Deitch’s Party House.” Let’s talk about that interior design Aaron Rose: Deitch may not have paintings over his couch, but he does have painted couches.
It is unclear how long Deitch will stay at MOCA–the press release says until the campaign to build the endowment to $100 million is complete. Meanwhile, an executive search will be overseen by board co-chairs David Johnson and Maria Bell (the subject of a recent NY Times fluff piece) and by Joel Wachs, President of the Andy Warhol Foundation. Who will want/be up to the challenges the position of director entails? Where will the new director will come from? Will it be a European as some suggest? Would that be good for MOCA since most European museum professionals don’t have to fundraise the way we do in America?
Meanwhile what’s going on with MOCA’s exhibition programming? The anticipated Jeff Koons retrospective was maybe cancelled, slash will go to MOCA in 2015 after the other scheduled venues, maybe. The only future exhibitions listed on MOCA’s website are a recent acquisitions show, the traveling Mike Kelley retrospective, and a show of gay erotic art by Bob Mizer and Tom of Finland. This leaves me with a burning question: WHAT’S GOING ON WITH THE DISCO SHOW? No, but really.
Also announced in the Deitch resignation press release is news of other leadership changes. Longtime MOCA supporter, and well-connected art advocate, Fred Sands was elected to President of the Board and three board members were elected Vice Chairs: Eugenio Lopez Alonso, Lillian Lovelace, and Maurice Marciano. Lopez and Marciano are of particular interest because both donors are currently planning museum projects to house their own private collections. Hear that Eli Broad, you’re not the only MOCA board member with your very own museum.
Lopez joined the MOCA board in 2005, and has supported exhibitions and donated works of art to the museum. He is heir to the Jumex juice fortune and owns the largest private art collection in Latin America. The Jumex Foundation organizes traveling shows, and loans artwork from the 2600 plus collection around the word. The Jumex collection has been on view in a renovated Jumex juice factory in the suburbs of Mexico City since 2001. Last month construction finished on the new Museo Jumex. The 4,000 sq. m museum designed by David Chipperfield, is part of a new cultural development in Mexico City’s upscale Polanco neighborhood, where billionaire Carlos Slim Helu’s Soumaya Museum is also located.
Marciano, one of the founders/designers of Guess?, jumped the MOCA ship during the 2008 financial disaster, but rejoined the board in October 2012. He and his brother Paul just purchased of the long-vacant Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard for $8 million. The Brothers Marciano plan to convert the massive Millard Sheets-designed building into a private museum with the aid of wHY Architecture.
Lopez’s new Jumex museum makes his collection much more accessible to the public, but Marciano’s vanity museum will only have “occasional exhibitions open to the public.” What is the motivation here? Does every private collector need their own museum? And who should access to these public/private spaces and collections? Why not donate their collections to the museums they govern instead? Why this trend? Or is it now more than a trend? How do these guys’ private collector museums compare to Eli Broad’s?
P.S. From a VERY questionable source: Rumor has it Brad Pitt was interested in joining MOCA’s board, but was rejected for being “dumb.” The story is horribly written and lacks any form of informed point of view. But it wouldn’t be a horrible idea for MOCA to get some additional entertainment industry peeps on its board, if for nothing else, to have someone to write some checks towards that $100 million endowment goal.