Is Los Angeles Ready For its First Mega-Museum? Is Los Angeles Ready For its First Mega-Museum?
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Is Los Angeles Ready For its First Mega-Museum?
A merger is afoot in Los Angeles, but it’s not a movie studio or a record label this time around. This merger involves the city’s two biggest museums, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). LACMA, an encyclopedic museum with a massive campus, stellar educational program, and a magnificent collection of historical art has offered to buy the embattled MOCA, with its youthful audience and top-notch collection of contemporary art, for a reported $100 million.
In terms of quality, I, for one, have enjoyed the dialogue MOCA has begun about the currency of art in Los Angeles in terms of how it deals with popular culture, celebrity, and excess (shows by actor/artists Dennis Hopper and James Franco, and a massively popular exhibition on “street art”)—even if the execution of these exhibitions has been something of a crapshoot. Symbolically, the loss of MOCA’s independent identity would severely impact Los Angeles’ current standing as a nurturing community for art, at least temporarily branding it as a place where a major institutional art center can flail and ultimately fail.
Images courtesy of LACMA and MOCA