The art world is abuzz with news about the possible merging of art museum titans Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Basically, LACMA would help MOCA financially sustain itself while keeping its name. Sounds like a good deal, right?
Well, it's apparently not everyone's dream come true. For one, MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch continues to receive criticism for recent exhibitions, and last year, board members started leaving left and right. Yet not everyone agrees with LACMA director Michael Govan's handling of things either. We've gathered reactions from a few outspoken souls on the Internet putting in their two cents.
Los Angeles-based art critic Mat Gleason dissected Govan's post on LACMA's Unframed blog for Huffington Post's Arts and Culture, ending with the biggest reason he thinks the merge sucks — it will make MOCA boring:
LACMA's contemporary art programming has conformed to a dull, narrow range of upscale values and vain allegiance to art theory only because it makes them look smart. People accused Jeffrey Deitch of dumbing down MOCA when he brought in “Art in the Streets”, but this assessment ignores many stupid MOCA curations over the years. Govan's track record assures us one thing should he actually acquire MOCA. He may bring back the illusion of rigor that the academic crowd craves and he may bring it to financial health by absorbing it into the LACMA base. MOCA, despite a chequered past, has been inspiringly distinct. Govan's vision will do the worst thing possible to that status: LACMA will make it dull.
Back in 2008, a group of artists formed the organization MOCA Mobilization to stop this very same thing from happening, stating the board of trustees should keep the museum alive independently.
Yesterday, it released a statement that stated:
Yes it is clear that since 2008, MOCA has not been independent — it's been beholden to the terms of the agreement struck with Eli Broad and a weak Board of Trustees unable to raise sufficient funds to maintain the integrity of the Museum. The artists at the heart of MOCA were alienated and shut out of discussions regarding the future of the Museum and the curatorial staff depleted to two. MOCA is a diminished institution. The Board of Trustees has failed a great museum.
Meanwhile, people in L.A. who aren't artists, curators or art critics also wondered what the hell would happen if the two giant institutions became one. There could be some benefits, right? It could be a kickass name for a drink:
— Yiqing Shao (@yiqing_shao) March 8, 2013
Or if not a new caffeinated craze, what about inspiration for a revamp of a classic video game?
LACMA buys MOCA? When does the Cory Archangel Pac-Man-themed piece come out? latimes.com/entertainment/…
— petitemaoiste (@petitemaoiste) March 8, 2013
Well, at least we can get more bang for our buck. That way next time you visit LACMA or MOCA you can have enough for a pencil from the gift shop or something.
One membership. Twice the fun? “LACMA moves to take over MOCA” latimes.com/entertainment/…
— Grant Slater (@grantslater) March 8, 2013
Or we could just wait for the next great reality TV show.
— Pedro Vélez (@PDRVelez) March 8, 2013
Meanwhile, someone please start making Team LACMA and Team MOCA shirts.
Disclaimer: Eva Recinos is a current volunteer at LACMA.