LACMA Proposes Merger with MOCA [updated]

LACMA Proposes Merger with MOCA [updated]
The Executive Committee of the Board of Museum Associates, the nonprofit that operates the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), has presented the financially strapped Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), with a proposal for a merger. The plan would preserve the independence of the two institutions while combining their operations and infrastructure.

“MOCA’s international reputation is richly deserved, having created one of the finest collections and programs of contemporary art in the world. The exhibition of its extraordinary permanent collection, the continuation of its renowned exhibition program, and its commitment to living artists are of paramount importance for the cultural life of Los Angeles,” said Michael Govan, LACMA’s CEO and director. “Our proposal is structured to achieve these goals.”

“A merger of Board leadership, including some of MOCA’s founders and artists, could provide a unique platform for the preservation and growth of MOCA's programs, under MOCA's name, with expanded facilities, in combination with a strong director and management team already in place,” said Andrew Gordon, chair of the LACMA board. “We would anticipate the continuation of a robust exhibition program consistent with our commitment to operating the combined organization with a balanced budget.”

The merger would be constituted between the two boards and with additional private funding sources. It would not require public funding. MOCA’s collection and programs would be housed at the museum’s Geffen Contemporary building, as well as LACMA’s Broad Contemporary Art Museum and Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion, which is currently under construction. Additional programs would be planned for MOCA’s Grand Avenue site.

Jeremy Strick, the director of MOCA, is negotiating the terms of his resignation with the museum’s board, the New York Times reports. Sources close to the museum said an agreement is expected to be reached by Thursday.

The board is also expected to announce tomorrow whether it will accept LACMA’s merger offer or instead accept a proposal by billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad whereby he would donate $15 million in financing, provided the museum raised matching funds, as well as another $15 million in operating costs over the next five years.