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MOCA board members weigh in on the mural controversy

December 16, 2010 |  2:07 pm

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In large part the public reaction to MOCA's removal of Blu's mural from the Geffen Contemporary has been split -- with some defending Jeffrey Deitch's right to do so and others condemning the move. But what about support or backlash from his own board?

Culture Monster checked in with a few trustees, who said they were not consulted about the decision to whitewash the mural -- and didn't expect to be.

"I think everyone understands that programmatic decisions are best left to the museum curators and director," says board Co-Chairman David Johnson. "The board is behind Jeffrey."

As for the reason Deitch offered for the decision, Johnson buys it: "I believe it was a very human decision, made out of respect for veterans in the community."

Board President Jeffrey Soros called it a hard decision: "As I see it, it's an unfortunate confluence of events that led us to being in a lose-lose situation. You lose if you take the mural down, and you lose if you keep it up," he says. "Had Jeffrey been in town, he and Blu could have come to an understanding about the work."

"Hopefully, MOCA has enough of a track record of championing artists' expression that this won't be the incident to define us," he says.

MOCA held its quarterly board meeting Wednesday, but trustees say the mural was not the focus. Perhaps they were dazzled by the location -- the meeting took place in the new "Suprasensorial" exhibition at the Geffen Contemporary, featuring Latin American light and space installations such as a light-splashed swimming pool.

-- Jori Finkel

www.twitter.com/jorifinkel

Image credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times

RELATED:

Art review: Suprasensorial

MOCA commissions, then paints over, artwork

Blu says removal of his mural from MOCA amounts to censorship

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