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AAMD issues MOCA support statement

December 18, 2008 | 10:32 am


As the Museum of Contemporary Art's board of trustees gathers today to discuss options to resolve its fiscally shaky future, an e-letter of support for the struggling but nationally prominent museum arrived in my mailbox from Michael Conforti, director of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass. He was writing in his capacity as president of the Assn. of Art Museum Directors.

Certainly the situation at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles is deeply
troubling.  MOCA is a great resource both for its community and the
nation, and we are concerned about its future.  We are ready to offer
advice and support as the museum navigates through this challenging
period and confronts difficult decisions.

We understand that there are two primary proposals being considered by
MOCA's leadership to determine the future of the museum.  Whichever
course of action its Board of Trustees take we hope the decision will
achieve two important goals: preserving MoCA's collection and
maintaining its strong tradition of exhibitions and programs ensuring
that MOCA's collection remains accessible to the community and the
institution continues to serve its many and diverse audiences as the
years go on.

The AAMD has been monitoring the increasing pressure many museums, including MOCA, have been feeling in economically troubled times to consider selling art from their collections to cover operating costs. Like the American Assn. of Museums, the AAMD opposes the practice. Notably, Conforti's letter also includes an implication of support for MOCA's continuing institutional independence.

-- Christopher Knight