AirTalk for March 8, 2013

What would a LACMA takeover of MOCA mean to art in Los Angeles?

Transmission MOCA

Ashley Myers-Turner/KPCC

Guests walk through spinning spirals in a MOCA exhibit entitled "Transmission L.A." Will LACMA's oversight of MOCA change the L.A. art scene?

Whether your taste in art runs contemporary or classical, whimsical or dark, a shake-up in the L.A. art scene could change what you see. Yesterday, the venerable Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) proposed acquiring the troubled Museum of Contemporary Art.

MOCA has enjoyed success with pop and popular exhibitions that Angelenos couldn't find elsewhere in the city - such as last year's Transmission LA. Nevertheless, the museum's leadership has been in tumult. Its board hired New York art dealer Jeffrey Deitch. Ever since, MOCA lost most of curators and board-member artists including L.A.'s beloved John Baldessari and Ed Ruscha. Those losses coupled with continued financial shortfalls make it ripe for LACMA's picking. One potential stopper is powerful philanthropist Eli Broad - a recent $30-million gift he bestowed to MOCA had strings attached.

Would such a merger excite the city's art offerings or could a single vision become boring? Why has MOCA failed to find financiers? What designs does Eli Broad have on the visual-art institutions of L.A.?

Guests:
Christopher Knight, art critic for the Los Angeles Times

Lynn Zelevansky, curator for The Henry J. Heinz II Director of Carnegie Museum of Art, former curator for LACMA, where she organized numerous exhibitions, including Your Bright Future: 12 Contemporary Artists from Korea, the award-winning Beyond Geometry: Experiments in Form, 1940s to 1970s, and Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama.


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