Update 2:20 p.m.
We’ve just received a statement from MOCA Board Co-Chair David G. Johnson on the matter of the departure of longtime chief curator Paul Schimmel.
The statement reads in full:
“Paul Schimmel is stepping down as MOCA’s chief curator. It is amicable and there will be a press release tomorrow.”
Update 12:40 p.m.
The LA Times now reports that Mr. Schimmel has been “fired.”
Mat Gleason says he obtained the story from “several high-placed sources at the museum,” who described Mr. Schimmel’s reported downsizing as part of a “bloodbath” that included the firing of at least three other people in various departments of the museum. In his understanding, the firings came in the wake of an end-of-fiscal-year budget meeting on Tuesday.
Paul Schimmel, the long-serving chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, appears to be parting ways with the museum. The news was first reported late last night by Los Angeles-based art writer Mat Gleason on his Coagula blog. Mr. Schimmel and the museum were not immediately available for comment, but an informed source has confirmed the move.
One of the nation’s most respected curators of contemporary art, Mr. Schimmel was famed for his gigantic, exhaustive group surveys on extremely recent contemporary art, like the 1992 show “Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990s.”
The reasons for Mr. Schimmel’s departure remain unclear. Mr. Gleason’s blog post would seem to indicate that he was let go. MOCA has struggled with financial issues in recent years as it fights to regrow its endowment, which shrank as it ran deficits and its investments were battered because of economic turmoil. Director Jeffrey Deitch and Mr. Schimmel have also been said to have had an acrimonious relationship.
We’ll have updates as the story develops.