Broad Collection may borrow prestige from MOCA

Los Angeles Times: “In the tumult surrounding MOCA over the last six months — an erratic art program, grim staffing issues, real funding problems, sharp divisions among trustees, etc. — the Broad takeover myth has become deeply entrenched. But it makes no business sense, and Broad is nothing if not a savvy businessman.

Why go to the expense of taking over a major art museum when you’ve already got effective control of it? Broad’s influence at MOCA is already decisive.

He’s a life trustee. He handpicked the museum’s controversial director, New York gallery owner Jeffrey Deitch. He, not the director, delivered the termination news to the museum’s long-standing chief curator, Paul Schimmel — the June event that caused long-simmering bad news to boil over. He evaluates planned exhibitions, checking off those he finds worthy of support. The spouses of both MOCA co-chairs sit on boards of Broad charities.

Most important, the Broad Foundation pledged $30 million to begin to resolve MOCA’s 2008 funding scandal, a jaw-dropper that had seen trustees sign off on spending down most of the museum’s endowment. Thirty million is a good chunk of change — although it pales in comparison to the dollar value of other MOCA donors’ art gifts over the years. For a man of Broad’s vast personal wealth, estimated by Forbes at $6.3 billion, it’s also relatively modest — the rough equivalent of a $500 or $600 pledge from a median American household.”

SOURCE: Christopher Knight, “Critic’s Notebook: Broad Collection may borrow prestige from MOCA,” Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2012.