Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The MOCA Suspense Is Unbearable...

If you've been following the drama, you've seen the LAT article about the offer of a merger with LACMA, under its current leadership. If you read it carefully, basically what it does is accepting the collection in exchange for ... only shouldering the operating expenses. It doesn't haul MOCA out of the hole it dug itself in, so financially it's not the best solution.
Basically what it's saying is, if you guys have to declare bankruptcy, we'll make sure you fab' collection stays in LA, we'll help you run your day-to-day operations, while maintaining the pretense of independence for your institution.
I can see many reasons why this wouldn't work (deciding which exhibition gets staged where, dealing with an over-inflated curatorial team in the Contemporary Art Dept. as well as the cultural shock for MOCA staff when dealing with LACMA's bureaucracy. As well as the impracticality for LACMA of running a satellite operation with 2 distant buildings, and how it would tilt its operating budget away from the "encyclopedic" premises the museum has been founded upon.
Nevertheless, given how MOCA's Board has run itself so far, they may choose it. I still think they'd be better inspired by accepting Eli Broad's offer, but we can now only wait and see... Stay tuned, and let's cross fingers!

UPDATE: there's no update, except that Michael Govan (hi Michael!) expands a tiny bit (not really) on the merger proposal, and that at almost 6PM tonight there is no leak yet or press release about MOCA's Board meeting. No doubt we'll know more later (this is the emptiest filler I've ever written, how more obvious a sentence can be, tell me?). Meanwhile, the LACMA offer looks more like a PR move than anything else, so far. They've been approached, they had to say something about it, so they adopted the stance that would offer as much help as they can, within their means. Whichever way you look, they could only do so: if they refuse the merger they appear like cold-hearted selfish beasts, and if they swallow MOCA they seem greedy and opportunistic. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.
In any case, we'll see.

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