The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, perennially beset with reports on its failing finances, is enjoying some good news. Trustees announced today that they have raised more than $50 million for the museum’s endowment in the past month, bringing it to $75 million. Prior to the campaign, the endowment hovered at a mere $22 million.
The museum also released a list of donors who have committed $1 million to $10 million, which includes Wallis Annenberg, Maria and Bill Bell, Eli and Edythe Broad, Blake Byrne, Steven and Alexandra Cohen, Cliff and Mandy Einstein, Lenore and Bernard Greenberg, David and Suzanne Johnson, Bruce Karatz and Lilly Tartikoff Karatz, Daniel S. Loeb and Margaret Munzer Loeb, Eugenio Lopez, Lillian Lovelace, Maurice Marciano, Edward J. and Julie Minskoff, Dallas Price-Van Breda, Fred and Carla Sands, Jeffrey and Catharine Soros, Darren Star and Sutton Stracke, Paul and Herta Amir and Marc and Eva Stern.
Robert Storr, dean of the Yale School of Art, weighs in on the whole L.A. MOCA debacle over at HuffPost. He kicks off his piece by stating that he’s read Eli Broad’s self-help book, The Art of Being Unreasonable, and asks how someone as deft at business as Mr. Broad could be so “inept and self-defeating” at philanthropy. Ouch.
Mr. Storr continues to paint Mr. Broad and his “enabler” Jeffrey Deitch as two scheming characters in a Shakespearean tragedy whose judgment, clouded by self-interest, is causing the downfall of a great institution. (“Dismissing Paul Schimmel in favor of Deitch is like cashing in all your value stocks and doubling down on junk bonds for the sake of a long-shot windfall.”) It’s quite a read.
The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art has announced that, following the departure of its chief curator, Paul Schimmel, it will withdraw from an international touring exhibition of the late British Pop artist Richard Hamilton, which Mr. Schimmel had been co-curating.
When Jeffrey Deitch closed his eponymous gallery in SoHo last year to become director of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (LA MOCA), the New York art world, and particularly the SoHo neighborhood, was widely acknowledged to have lost one of its galvanizing forces. As of next week, new life will be brewing at the former Deitch headquarters at 76 Grand Street, with a gallery that appears to continue in the Deitch tradition. The Observer has learned that Suzanne Geiss, former executive director of Deitch Projects, plans to start a new gallery in the building, which will be open to the public next spring.
“I think we’re going to leave. My friend fainted.”
That was the very first comment The Observer overheard as we headed into the entertainment portion of our program at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s annual gala on Saturday night.
[See photos of the event here.]
Cocktail hour at the gala had been relatively tame—everyone milling about, chatting each other up and giving each other the up-and-down—outfits are important at this event. Dita Von Teese was resplendent in Gaultier haute couture, while Minnie Driver went contemporary in a Douglas Hannant Andy Warhol camouflage number with Pomellato jewelry – yet she was just as va-va-voom as the diminutive burlesque star. Art patron Mandy Einstein cut a lithe figure in black Thierry Mugler and artist Rosson Crow looked like a happy cake topper in light peach vintage Don Loper. Gwen Stefani—sans husband Gavin—was a standout, and perhaps the centerpiece of this precursor to the evening’s big event… which is to say: dinner. To which, at that moment, we were summoned…