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Artists on MOCA Board Are Dropping Like Flies: Barbara Kruger and Catherine Opie Quit In Protest, Too

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Barbara Kruger: Untitled (Another Year). Photo by Lauren Lloyd/LAist.
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There goes another one. And another one.

John Baldessari quit the MOCA board in protest of the museum's new direction last week, and now artists Barbara Kruger and Catherine Opie said that they have also resigned, according to the Los Angeles Times. (The only remaining artist-trustee is Ed Ruscha, whom the Times couldn't reach him for comment, because he is out of the country.)

Opie and Kruger sent an e-mail to the board on Friday explaining that they were resigning after the chief curator Paul Schimmel was fired, as well as other curatorial assistants and the longtime education program manager Aandrea Stang. Opie said she wasn't present at the meeting when some of those decisions were made, but there was no effort to communicate to her what was going on.

Opie explained to the Times that as much history as she had with the museum, she wasn't on board with the museum's new direction:

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"I love and respect MOCA. It's the first place I've ever had a solo museum show, and it's had a profound influence on artists in Los Angeles, but the museum is taking such a different direction now. I believe that MOCA's strengths have always been in relationship to the outstanding scholarly curatorial practice it had established. What concerns me is seeing the museum embracing more celebrity and fashion."

Kruger said she wasn't ready to speak on the record about her decision to quit the board just yet.Artist-trustees don't have to pay dues like the other members of the board, the Times explains, but their positions aren't just symbolic. They attend board meetings and often donate proceeds from their work to the museum. Opie was preparing to donate some of her prints to the education department until she learned that Stang was leaving.

Art-lovers have criticized the museum for its new pop-culture slant ever since it brought on Jeffrey Deitch as director. But art world experts on "Which Way, L.A.?" said one of the biggest problem with bringing Deitch on is that he didn't have a background managing the finances of a major arts institution—something MOCA sorely needs. The world-class museum appears to be in serious financial trouble.

Related:
Artist John Baldessari Quits MOCA Board In Protest
MOCA 'Amicably' Fires Chief Curator Paul Schimmel, Art Community Rages