Charley Gallay/Getty Images for LACMA
Artist and honoree John Baldessari attends LACMA Art + Film Gala Honoring Clint Eastwood and John Baldessari Presented By Gucci at Los Angeles County Museum of Art on November 5, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
"To live with my conscience, I just had to do it." Baldessari said in an interview with the Times on Thursday after emailing his decision to MOCA. He said his reasons include the recent ouster of respected chief curator Paul Schimmel and news this week that the pop-cultural slant the museum has taken under director Jeffrey Deitch will continue with an exhibition on disco music's influence on art and culture.
The museum says Schimmel resigned, but did not make him available for comment.
Baldessari is the fifth board member, and the most high-profile one, to leave MOCA since February. He’s taught at Cal Arts for decades and has served on MOCA’s board for 12 years.
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(L-R) Paul Schimmel, Takashi Murakami, and Jeremy Strick pose together at the MOCA Los Angeles media preview of "(C) Murakami" at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in 2007. Schimmel, who took his leave as long-time curator Wednesday, staged popular shows like this one.
Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art and its longtime curator, Paul Schimmel, are parting ways.
Multiple gallery blogs reported his departure happened late Wednesday, and the L.A. Times reported that he had been fired, but MOCA's Thursday statement characterized Schimmel's exit differently: "Paul Schimmel is stepping down as MOCA's chief curator. It's amicable and there will be a release tomorrow."
In any case, the news of Schimmel's departure after 22 years at the museum quickly picked up steam on Twitter.
The Times reported that Schimmel is known for staging popular shows like the 2007 retrospective of the artist Takashi Murakami and is well-known and respected in the art world.
We're calling around for more on this. Stay tuned.