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Displaying items by tag: Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art appears to be headed toward a potentially unpleasant speed bump on the road to recovery from several years of well-documented troubles: Its upcoming exhibition program is a mystery.

A big, challenging retrospective of mixed-media works by the late, hugely influential Los Angeles artist Mike Kelley closes Monday at MOCA's warehouse space in Little Tokyo. Then the building will be temporarily shuttered for some unspecified roof repairs.

A reopening date has not yet been set. But when it is, eager museum visitors can look forward to seeing — well, what they'll be seeing is hard to say. At the Geffen Contemporary, MOCA's future exhibition schedule is blank.

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A painting by Henri Matisse stolen more than a decade ago in Caracas and later recovered in an FBI sting is on display again in the Venezuelan capital.

The "Odalisque in Red Pants," worth around $3 million, was exhibited Tuesday for the first time in more than a decade at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

It had been replaced with a fake sometime between 1999 and 2002 and it was only in 2003 that Venezuelan authorities realized the original had been stolen.

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The former director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome (Macro) says that the institution is facing a financial crisis. Alberta Campitelli, whose contract expired at the end of June, told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that cuts by the city council mean the museum is at risk of closing. The municipal budget has been reduced from €350,000 in 2013 to €61,000 this year. “We literally have €5,000 a month [from the city],” Campitelli says. In April, the city’s culture councillor, Flavia Barca, announced funding cuts of between €10m and €15m for the capital’s culture and heritage sector.

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This is not good news: The Museum of Contemporary Art has lent a major painting from its permanent collection to a newly opened exhibition at a prominent Culver City art gallery, raising serious questions of conflict of interest.

A museum loan to a commercial enterprise is highly unusual, since the arrangement is typically irrelevant to a museum’s educational mission. Given MOCA’s recent history of troubling mercantile involvements, the gallery loan is disheartening.

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A handful of art collectors who have donated to the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami are seeking to clear up any confusion: They say they gave their art to the museum, not the city.

In a motion filed late Tuesday in the museum board’s lawsuit against the city, the collectors sought to explain the “intent behind their donations, which was always to donate to MOCA, the 501 (c)(3), and not to the city.”

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The Museum of Contemporary Art took the next step in rebuilding its staff and programming, appointing Helen Molesworth of the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston as its new chief curator.

A scholar, art writer and curator, Molesworth has been at ICA/Boston since 2010. Before that she headed the department of modern and contemporary art at the Harvard Art Museum and served as the museum's Houghton Curator of Contemporary Art.

She will start Sept. 1.

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The battle being waged between the Museum of Contemporary Art’s board and the city of North Miami over the institution’s future has taken a new twist.

The museum’s board of trustees — which has said it wants to move the museum’s collection to Miami Beach’s Bass Museum of Art — said Wednesday it would no longer consider the city of North Miami’s designee for new museum director.

“The Board provided the candidate, Mr. Babacar M’Bow, with a two-week window to participate in a standard background check, which is a required step in evaluating the credentials of candidates for the position,” the museum’s board said in a statement Wednesday. “Despite multiple notifications, Mr. M’Bow did not comply with the background check and is therefore no longer under consideration for the position. The board is disappointed that Mr. M’Bow chose not to take part in the evaluation process.

 

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Anyone looking to meet the director of the tiny but highly regarded Museum of Contemporary Art here has two choices. Head into the museum, where its interim director, Alex Gartenfeld, has an office. Or go next door to City Hall, where the mayor’s appointee to the same position, Babacar M’Bow, is essentially working in exile.

The dueling directors are just part of the chaos emanating from a bitter showdown that has erupted between MoCA, as the museum is known, and the city that founded it.

The museum’s board wants to leave this working-class city and merge with the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach, its wealthier and more glamorous neighbor. It says that North Miami has neglected the museum building and failed to support a needed expansion.

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Christopher W. Mount, former Architecture and Design Curator at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, announced that he will open two eponymous galleries -- one in Los Angeles and another in New York City. The California outpost is housed in the Pacific Design Center, a multi-use facility for the design community, and will open to the public on Friday, May 23. The New York gallery, located on the Upper West Side, will be open by appointment only. Both locations will specialize in architecture and design-related material. 

Mount, a curator, writer, and educator specializing in 20th- and 21st-century architecture, design, and graphics, is an active member of the Los Angeles design scene. Last year, he organized the Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MOCA) troubled exhibition, “A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture from Southern California.” The show faced multiple delays, which Mount said was the result of mismanagement at MOCA. The exhibition took place while the museum’s controversial director, Jeffrey Deitch, was still at the helm.

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Acquavella Galleries in New York is currently hosting the exhibition “Jean-Michel Basquiat Drawing: Works from the Schorr Family Collection.” The show was curated by Fred Hoffman, who was introduced to Basquiat by fellow art dealer Larry Gagosian in 1982. Hoffman helped Basquiat produce five editions of prints, which were published in 1983 by New City Editions in Venice, California. Hoffman also assisted in the production of the artist’s 1984 silkscreen paintings and co-curated Basquiat’s retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum in 2005. He is the Ahmanson Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

“Jean-Michel Basquiat Drawing” features 22 works on paper and two paintings from the collection of Herbert and Lenore Schorr, Los Angeles-based collectors who met the artist in 1981, before his first exhibition in New York. The Schorrs quickly became Basquiat’s devoted collectors, supporters, and friends. While the couple owns several seminal Basquiat paintings, what makes their holdings so unique is their vast collection of works on paper. Hoffman said, “The Schorrs astutely understood that working on paper was equally central to his practice as painting on canvas. The collection demonstrates both the focus and ambition that the artist invested in the medium of drawing.” Drawing is an essential component of Basquiat’s graffiti-inspired Neo-expressionist and Primitivist works. Between 1980-1988, the artist produced approximately 1,000 works on paper that exemplify his frenetic, bold, and gestural style.

The two paintings on view at Acquavella Galleries include a portrait that Basquiat painted of the Schorrs and “Leonardo da Vinci’s Greatest Hits,” which was part of an exhibition at Fun Gallery in New York in 1983. The show didn’t receive any critical attention and the Schorrs were the only people to buy a painting. “Leonardo da Vinci’s Greatest Hits” is now considered a foremost example of Basquiat’s work. Lenore Schorr said, “We had so much confidence in him from the beginning and couldn’t understand why other people couldn’t see it.”

Today, Basquiat, who died in 1988 at the age of 27, commands extremely high prices at auction. In May 2013, “Dustheads” sold for $48.8 million at Christie’s, setting the record for Basquiat at auction. His work is included in private and public collections throughout the world, including the Broad Art Foundation in California, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Museu d’art Contemporani de Barcelona in Spain, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Acquavella Galleries was founded by Nicholas Acquavella in 1921. The gallery initially specialized in works of the Italian Renaissance, but in 1960, when Acquavella’s son William joined the business, the gallery expanded to major works of the 19th and 20th centuries, including masters of Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism. The gallery has since expanded and the entire scope of the 20th century is now represented.

“Jean-Michel Basquiat Drawing: Works from the Schorr Family Collection” will remain on view at Acquavella Galleries through June 13.

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