Saturday, August 11, 2012

La La La

If you’re fascinated by the machinations of art museums you'll have been hanging out for news of the latest spills-and-thrills from MOCA in Los Angeles. 

The short version is that the Museum hired Jeffrey Deitch (a very successful and highly regarded ex-dealer gallery owner) as Director in a bid to transform the financially and audience-challenged institution. He came in with populist guns blazing and raised attendances with exhibitions such as Street Art and some provocative celebrity intrusions. 

Then he fired/let go the senior curator Paul Schimmel and all hell broke loose. Board members (including all the artist members – Baldessari, Kruger, Ruscha et al.) resigned furious at the swing toward entertainment at the expense of art and ex-directors put the boot in. Now in a not so subtle move in troubled times MOCA is mounting the event Songs on Conceptual Art on 11 August. It features a number of young artists doing versions of an influential John Baldessari video in which he sings Sol LeWitt's 35 Sentences on Conceptual Art

The LA Times art critic calls it a “gentle jab”. Maybe it's just bad timing but as the museum has relented and agreed to hire another senior curator (the plan was not to bother) the general feeling is it should probably put all jabbing action on hold for the time being. 

Image: Jeffrey Deitch (left). You can get a fuller picture of the whole sorry story here