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Brooklyn Museum nixes 'Art in the Streets' exhibition from MOCA

June 21, 2011 |  3:33 pm


"Art in the Streets," the popular and controversial exhibition of graffiti and street art at the Museum of Contemporary Art, was expected to travel to the Brooklyn Museum in 2012 following its run here in L.A., where it has been drawing big crowds.

But on Tuesday, the Brooklyn Museum announced that it is canceling plans to host the exhibition, blaming the economic downturn. The show was expected to open in New York on March 30 and to run through July 8, 2012.

Arnold L. Lehman, director of the Brooklyn Museum, said in a statement that the cancellation "became necessary due to the current financial climate. As with most arts organizations throughout the country, we have  had to make several difficult choices since the beginning of the economic downturn three years ago."

"Art in the Streets" opened at MOCA's Geffen Contemporary space in Little Tokyo in April. At the time, the L.A. Police Department said that the show had become a magnet for illegal taggers who wanted to leave their marks in the surrounding neighborhood.

A spokeswoman for the Brooklyn Museum said in a phone interview that museum officials were aware that the exhibition had caused some controversy in L.A., but that it had "absolutely no role" in the museum's decision to remove it from its calendar.

"When you agree to do an exhibition, you do so with the hope of raising the necessary money. But with this show, this turned out not to be the case," said Sally Williams, the spokeswoman. "The responsible thing was to say that we have to cancel it."

Officials from MOCA did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Jeffrey Deitch, the director of MOCA, told Culture Monster last month that there is interest in the exhibition from art institutions abroad, but that nothing has been finalized.

"Art in the Streets" runs through Aug. 8 at the Geffen Contemporary.


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-- David Ng

Photo: A view of the "Art in the Streets" exhibition at MOCA's Geffen Contemporary. Credit: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters