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Victor Pinchuk, Peter Brant among new MOCA trustees

December 17, 2009 |  4:22 pm


Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art, which has spent most of this year climbing out of a deep financial hole, said today that it has elected three new members to its Board of Trustees.

Joining the elite club of trustees are Victor Pinchuk, the Ukranian billionaire and art collector; Peter Brant, an art collector and owner of Brant Publications; and Steven Mnuchin, chief executive of OneWest Bank Group.

New trustees means more money for MOCA. Trustees pay a minimum of $75,000 in annual dues to the museum, with additional contributions in their first year.

MOCA said it has added a total of 10 trustees to its board this year, though it lost nearly that number following the museum's brush with death in late 2008. 

As The Times reported last November, MOCA had been draining its reserves over the years to pay operating expenses, a practice that brought the institution to the brink of financial collapse. 

The museum eventually accepted a $30-million bailout offer from Eli Broad in December 2008. In addition, board members pledged to put in $20 million of their own.  Around the same time, the museum's director, Jeremy Strick, resigned. Some of his duties were taken over by Charles E. Young, who was named the museum’s first chief executive.

In early 2009, MOCA eliminated about 20% of its paid staff in an effort to regain financial stability. The museum also saw nine members of its trustee board resign.

It has since been a slow and steady climb back to solvency for the museum. MOCA has announced that nearly $30 million in additional pledges and donations had come in this year, including $2 million from board member Fred Sands.

This fall, MOCA celebrated its 30th anniversary with a big celebrity bash. Broad declared that the museum "has no debt." 

For the year, the museum said today that it has raised $64 million.  

Other trustees who have joined the museum's board this year include  Nancy Marks, Carolyn Powers, Darren Star, Marc I. Stern and Lilly Tartikoff. In addition, Gil Friesen and Peter Morton have returned to the board.

MOCA said it expects to name a new director in early 2010.

-- David Ng

Photo: MOCA's Grand Avenue location in downtown L.A. Credit: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times