In an effort to “set the record straight” about the departure of Paul Schimmel from the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, which we reported here, Eli Broad, wrote an op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Broad, who was the founding chairman of the board of trustees of the museum (he’s now a lifetime trustee there), suggests Mr. Schimmel may not have been staging shows that were popular enough or cost-effective enough considering the museum’s history of fiscal woes.
From the op-ed:
Over the years, MOCA has mounted many great exhibitions. However, the museum has also curated a number of exhibitions that were costly and poorly attended, often exceeding $100 per visitor. In today’s economic environment, museums must be fiscally prudent and creative in presenting cost-effective, visually stimulating exhibitions that attract a broad audience.
There has been much confusion about Schimmel’s departure. For several years, he’s been contemplating a change and has been a candidate for a number of positions at other institutions. Schimmel is a brilliant curator, but the board members recognized the director’s right to put his own team together. When they accepted Schimmel’s resignation, they acknowledged that he has left an indelible mark on MOCA’s history during his 22-year tenure. They look forward to continuing to work with him — together with guest curators from around the world — to develop the world-class exhibitions that MOCA is known for. They also look forward to MOCA showing more of its permanent collection — 80% of which has not been seen in the last 10 years.