A chronology of the Museum of Contemporary Art since 2000.
July 24, 2013
Jeffrey Deitch announced his resignation from his role as MOCA director at a meeting of the board of trustees Wednesday, July 24. MOCA’s board announced that it has formed a committee to search for Deitch’s replacement, and that Deitch “will stay on to ensure a smooth transition and the successful completion” of a campaign begun in March to boost MOCA’s endowment to $100 million.
April 18, 2013
Board chairs Maria Bell and David Johnson announce that its campaign to raise money for the museum’s endowment is three-quarters of the way toward the goal of $100 million. Fifty million dollars was pledged in the previous month alone; the money raised ensures that MOCA will collect the rest of the $15-million Eli Broad pledged in 2008 if it was matched by other donors. Johnson says Jeffrey Deitch remains MOCA’s director.
March 26, 2013
MOCA announces a fundraising campaign to build its endowment to $100 million and says board members’ commitments in the two previous weeks will bring it to more than $60 million. Two longtime trustees, board president Jeffrey Soros and Eugenio Lopez, are co-chairing the campaign, dubbed “MOCA Independence.”
March 19, 2013
MOCA’s board issues a statement saying it will keep MOCA independent and raise the money “to ensure its strong financial standing.” Board members reportedly quickly dismissed LACMA’s proposal, questioning LACMA’s long-term bond debt.
March 7, 2013
At the request of members of the MOCA board, Los Angeles County Museum of Art Director Michael Govan proposes that LACMA absorb MOCA while keeping the MOCA name and its two downtown buildings. LACMA would raise $100 million for it as part of the deal. The board chairman of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., says that it too has been in talks, instigated by Broad, with MOCA.
USC confirms that is in unspecified “partnership” talks with MOCA.
July 12-15, 2012
All four artists on the MOCA board — John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger, Catherine Opie and Ed Ruscha — resign.
July 12, 2012
Broad’s July 8 column draws a response from four of his fellow MOCA life trustees, who say in a letter to The Times that “the celebrity-driven program that … Jeffrey Deitch promotes is not the answer,” and suggest MOCA needs to hire “a dedicated professional director.”
July 7-8, 2012
Eli Broad writes an opinion article for the Los Angeles Times to reassure the public that MOCA is stable. Broad notes that MOCA’s new budget for 2012-13 is a prudent $14.3 million but does not say that it’s the museum’s lowest since the 1990s.
Responding to speculation, Broad denies in an interview that he has any intention of taking over MOCA’s prized collection for his own self-financed $130-million Broad Collection museum, due to open in 2014 across Grand Avenue from MOCA, with a promised endowment from Broad of at least $200 million.
Longtime chief curator Paul Schimmel, seen as an important part of MOCA’s strong reputation in the art world, is forced to resign after two years of frosty relations with Deitch.
Several board members resign or decline to renew when their terms expire. The chief financial officer and fundraising directors in place when Deitch began are gone, and their successors have left after less than a year on the job. MOCA’s financial condition comes into question when it delays a long-scheduled exhibition on Land Art so the Geffen Contemporary can be rented out to Mercedes-Benz for a free art, music and food festival.
Deitch has a popular triumph with “Art in the Streets,” a survey of the graffiti and street art movement that draws a record 201,352 viewers. But fundraising momentum fades during his first fiscal year at MOCA. Donations drop $4 million from the previous year.
Jeffrey Deitch begins work as museum director. Though he arrives with little museum experience, he has a big art world reputation as an adventurous New York City art dealer who helped build the collections of billionaires such as Broad. Fundraising for the 2009-10 fiscal year totals $18.6 million, and additions to the endowment since 2009 have drawn $6.25 million in matching funds from Broad.
Young closes the Geffen Contemporary for most of 2009 and cuts staff, reducing annual expenses by a third. Declaring a “MOCA New” campaign, museum leaders announce fundraising progress, with donations reaching $29.5 million for the fiscal year, and recruit new trustees. A November gala featuring Lady Gaga marks the 30th anniversary of the museum’s founding and celebrates its return from the brink.
MOCA nearly collapses as its onetime $38.2-million endowment drops to $5 million in the global financial meltdown. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art offers to absorb MOCA, but Eli Broad pledges $15 million for exhibitions over five years and up to $15 million for the endowment if MOCA can raise matching funds. Former UCLA chancellor Charles Young is tapped as interim chief executive by Broad.
Mid-2000 to mid-2008
The Museum of Contemporary Art runs annual budget deficits averaging nearly $3 million; the museum draws on its endowment to pay operating costs. The California attorney general’s office later determines that the museum “did not meet the standard” in state law that restricts spending endowment principal.