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Turan on LACMA plans: 'What are these people drinking?'

July 30, 2009 |  9:35 am
LACMA film program


This week, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art revealed it will be shutting down its separate film department, which has been presenting classic Hollywood fare for more 40 years. The reason: The weekend program has been losing money and its audience for several years. Now LACMA is taking a break to consider options and seek out donors.

Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan isn't happy about this.

Museums in Southern California seem to be losing their collective minds.

First downtown's Museum of Contemporary Art spent big chunks of its endowment on day-to-day expenses. Then the Orange County Museum of Art secretly sold some of its paintings to a private collector. And now the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the museum of record in ground zero for the film industry, is killing its movie program. What are these people drinking?

I know, I know, the official word from LACMA Director Michael Govan is that the film program is not dead but on some half-baked hiatus while he puts his best minds to work "reconsidering the nature, scale and scope" of what the museum is doing.

You'll excuse me, but the logic of needing to stop the program in order to rethink it sounds suspiciously like the apocryphal Vietnam War rationale that "we had to burn the village to save it." That the museum seems to lack the ability to consider the situation's pros and cons while things are up and running doesn't give me a lot of confidence in its ultimate decision.

Read the entire article here.

-- Lisa Fung

Photo: Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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