Press Releases / Statements
LETTER TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, MARCH 17, 2013
To the Board of Trustees of MOCA,
We are writing as collection artists, as donors and as concerned members of the arts community to request that the Board of Trustees make public the details of any proposals under consideration that effect the future of the Museum (such as proposals from USC, LACMA and the National Gallery). The speculation in the press on the details of these proposals is doing damage to the reputation of the Museum. It is only through the dissemination of accurate information that a true discussion can take place.
MOCA refers to itself as The Artists Museum -- its relationship to the arts community has always been its strength. It is, we believe, essential that the Board organize a public forum and take input from the arts community prior to making a decision on any merger or partnership plans.
Only though working together can a stable future for MOCA be realized.
MOCA MOBILIZATION STATEMENT, MARCH 7, 2013
MOCA Mobilization was formed during MOCA’s 2008 financial crisis in face of a potential merger with LACMA. In 2008 we wrote, “We are a vigilant public who care for the integrity and autonomy of MOCA. The Board of Trustees is the guardian of this great institution. It is the Board’s responsibility to insure the Museum’s financial health and preserve its programming and staff. We call upon the Trustees to maintain MOCA’s independence and to keep its collection intact and accessible to a wide and appreciative public.” Support was rallied and the merger was stopped.
The Board of Trustees has failed a great museum.
MOCA MOBILIZATION PETITION SUBMITTED TO MOCA, AUGUST 7, 2012
MOCA Mobilization delivered a petition with over 1700 signatures to Los Angeles
Museum of Contemporary Art Director Jeffrey Deitch and Board of Trustees
co-chairs Maria Bell and David Johnson today. The petition demands the hiring
of senior curatorial staff and calls on the Board of Trustees to dedicate
itself to responsible governance including maintaining transparency with all
Board members and the community.
Organized by MOCA Mobilization, an independent community group formed in 2008 to support the Museum and its staff.
MOCA Mobilization endorses the statements recently issued by MOCA life trustees Lenore Greenberg, Betye Burton, Audrey Irmas and Frederick Nicholas, and resigned artist trustees Barbara Kruger and Catherine Opie, as well as the op-ed statements made by prominent national art critics including Christopher Knight (Los Angeles Times) and Roberta Smith (New York Times).
1.We demand that a search begin within 3 months to fill the key role of Chief Curator vacated by the forced resignation of Paul Schimmel and the Senior position vacated by Philipp Kaiser and that these positions be filled by experienced and respected curators who can provide the needed and necessary leadership roles at the museum. MOCA leadership has indicated that it does not intend to fill the currently vacant Senior and Chief curatorial positions. In-depth research and development, a thorough knowledge of the permanent collection and a considered approach to acquisitions requires the guidance of senior curatorial staff not burdened with fundraising and running the day-to-day operations of the museum. As stated in the Considerations for AAM Accredited Museums Facing Retrenchment or Downsizing: “Actions that are inconsistent with standards and best practices in the field, or with the criteria and characteristics of an accredited museum, include: Major staff cutbacks, protracted vacancies in key professional positions, or major changes in qualifications of staff that adversely affect the museum’s ability to fulfill its mission."
2. We demand that the Board of Trustees recognize the historical importance of artists to MOCA and the need for continuing involvement of artists in museum governance. This must be acknowledged by the appointment of four new artist trustees, to replace the four who have resigned in protest, and by appointing an artist to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. MOCA’s relationship with the artist community at its core is broken. Artists were a driving force in the founding of MOCA, have sat on the Board of Trustees, sold works to support operating expenses and programming, donated works to the permanent collection and rallied to keep MOCA independent during the 2008 crisis. Artists are vital to the life of the Museum and the artist trustees must remain informed. As Barbara Kruger and Cathy Opie said in their resignation letter to the museum: “This requires honest and shared communication involving all the Board Members, not just a select few.”
3. We respectfully ask that MOCA’s Trustees examine their own role in contributing to the financial crisis in 2008 and the current turmoil rather than placing the blame on MOCA’s internationally recognized programming. The Board has named programming as the source of MOCA’s troubles and has inferred that MOCA’s internationally renowned record of exhibitions is irrelevant and elitist.
4. We demand that the Board of Trustees honor their role as custodians of MOCA, seek to educate themselves in non-profit governance as required by the Attorney General and act in the public interest in their stewardship of the museum. The Board of Trustees must be the ethical, financial custodians of MOCA and, as such, have fiduciary responsibilities that are specific to non-profit institutions. We are concerned that, despite the 2010 recommendations of the Attorney General who wrote that MOCA “required corrective actions,” they have not complied.
5. We continue to believe that an independent advisory panel comprised of museum experts, collection artists and community members with experience in non-profit governance is necessary to insure the integrity of MOCA's unique curatorial voice and its status as a world-class museum. We demand that an advisory panel be formed to insure transparency at MOCA. In 2008, MOCA Mobilization supported the participation of the Board of Trustees in a public review process as recommended by Antonio Villaraigosa, the Mayor of Los Angeles. Though a panel may have been convened, the public was never made aware of their findings.
We remain a vigilant public who care for the integrity and autonomy of MOCA. The Board of Trustees is the guardian of this great institution. It is the Board’s responsibility to insure the Museum’s financial health and preserve its programming and staff. We call upon the Trustees to honor MOCA’s mission statement:
Founded in 1979, The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is the only museum in Los Angeles devoted exclusively to contemporary art. It is committed to the collection, presentation, and interpretation of work produced since 1940 in all media, and to preserving that work for future generations. In a remarkably short time, MOCA has developed one of the nation's most renowned permanent collections. Now numbering over 5,000 works and steadily growing, this invaluable cultural resource provides extensive opportunities for education and enjoyment to thousands of national and international visitors. Today the museum is housed in three unique facilities: MOCA Grand Avenue, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, and MOCA Pacific Design Center. MOCA's mission is to be the defining museum of contemporary art.
Cindy Bernard and DIana Thater, Collection Artists
On Behalf of MOCA Mobilization
MOCA Mobilization Statement, December 19, 2008
MOCA Mobilization commends the Board of Trustees for working towards maintaining an intact and autonomous MOCA.
However, it is our strong opinion that the Board of Trustees should opt for the 30-day period of public review suggested by Mayor Villaraigosa in his December 16th letter.
In his letter the Mayor stated that he intends to convene a panel of experts with public oversight. We support the Mayor's position requesting participation of the Board of Trustees in a public review process. It is vital that the public remain informed and vigilant during the difficult process of restructuring. Quoting the Mayor, "after notice of potential breach, I believe that the current crisis demands the convening of a panel now. This convening would bolster the public's confidence in MOCAafter this crisis is resolved. Therefore, I intend to move forward shortly to convene such a panel, and I request your participation."
An independent advisory panel is necessary to shepherd MOCA through this challenging period and to insure that the integrity of MOCA's unique curatorial voice and its status as a world class museum be preserved.
IN SUPPORT OF THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, LOS ANGELES, November 23, 2008
Organized by MOCA Mobilization, an independent community group formed to support the Museum and its staff.
On November 19th 2008, the public was informed via an article in the Los Angeles Times that the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles has for some time been in a grave financial crisis and extreme measures were about to be taken with regard to the institution and its collection. With the museum in even greater trouble as rumors and partial truths fly, we, the undersigned, make the following public statement:
MOCA has an incomparable reputation. Widely regarded as the single best contemporary art museum in the world, its exhibitions have become art history. Since 1979, MOCA’s reputation has attracted the admiration of internationally renowned artists and patrons of the arts. It is one of Los Angeles’s great cultural institutions.
We support MOCA’s staff as they suffer through this crisis. It is their work, their talent and their integrity that give the luster to this Museum. We acknowledge with pride the exceptional quality and quantity of ground-breaking exhibitions produced by MOCA. We appreciate the excellence of its permanent collection. For any one of these things to be diminished is to diminish the entire institution.
We are a vigilant public who care for the integrity and autonomy of MOCA. The Board of Trustees is the guardian of this great institution. It is the Board’s responsibility to insure the Museum’s financial health and preserve its programming and staff. We call upon the Trustees to maintain MOCA’s independence and to keep its collection intact and accessible to a wide and appreciative public.
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