Is a LA MoCA/Lacma merger on the horizon?
Lacma’s director has made a proposal to the board of the struggling LA MoCA to combine the two museums
By Javier Pes. Web only
Published online: 08 March 2013
Will the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (LA MoCA), join forces with the University of Southern California, a partnership that has been under discussion since the end of last year? Or will a take-over by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) come to pass? While LA MoCA's board members weigh up the options, speculation grows about how long the institution founded in 1979 and now led by Jeffrey Deitch will remain independent.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the director of Lacma, Michael Govan, and the two co-chairs of his board wrote to the co-chairs of LA MoCA's board at the end of February setting out the terms of a possible acquisition. An LA MoCA and Lacma merger was first mooted when the contemporary art museum, which runs two sites in downtown and a smaller space at the Pacific Design Center, ran into severe financial trouble around 2008, at which point its endowment had shrunk to around £7m, down from $38m in 2000.
Posting on Lacma’s blog “Unframed”, the director Michael Govan argues that combining the two institutions “would strengthen both. Lacma’s mission is to share world-class art with the widest array of audiences possible. MoCA’s downtown location, extraordinary collection and devoted constituency, combined with Lacma’s modern art masterpieces, large audiences and broad educational outreach (especially in schools near downtown LA) would create a cultural institution that is much more than the sum of its parts. Lacma’s strong leadership, its history of fundraising, and its support from Los Angeles County and other donors will provide MoCA with the stability it deserves.”
LA MoCA did not respond to requests for comment.
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