If you follow contemporary art, then you’re probably aware of the turmoil surrounding the firing of MOCA’s highly respected chief curator Paul Schimmel. Schimmel, the curatorial eye behind legendary MOCA shows like “Helter Skelter”, “Ecstasy: In and About Altered States” and “Under the Big Black Sun”, apparently ran afoul of the Museum’s new director, former New York gallerist and street art impresario, Jeffrey Deitch and billionaire Board chair Eli Broad. In the latest twist to the story artists Barbara Kruger, John Baldessari, Catherine Opie and Ed Ruscha have all resigned from the MOCA board in protest of Schimmel’s departure.
MOCA has long been regarded as one of the best museums of contemporary in the nation. The controversy raises important questions about the curatorial direction of the Museum since it has seemingly rejected Schimmel’s “intellectually ambitious and visually compelling” programming” in favor of Deitch’s “celebrity driven”, “populist programming”.
In a paper written in 2004, “Metrics of Success in Art Museums,” Maxwell Anderson, current director of the Dallas Museum of Art raises interesting issues about how museums define their priorities and measure their success. http://www.cgu.edu/pages/7265.asp#metrics. What do you think the controversy at MOCA and how do you think museums should measure success?
Gallery View of MOCA’s “Robert Rauschenberg: Combines”, 2006
Curated by Paul Schimmel