Philippe Vergne Exits LA MoCA

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in downtown Los Angeles, California
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in downtown Los Angeles, California
  • Still from a KCET interview with MOCA director Philippe Vergne.

    Still from a KCET interview with MOCA director Philippe Vergne.

    KCET via Youtube

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles announced on Friday, just before the long holiday weekend, that director Philippe Vergne will depart. The decision came after various spurts of turmoil within the museum, including Vergne's recent decision to terminate its respected chief curator, Helen Molesworth, who sought diversity among artists in MOCA's exhibition program.

Vergne came to MOCA in 2014 from New York's Dia Art Foundation. At MOCA, Vergne oversaw an period of growth, with the museum endowment at $125 million, having climbed from $5 million in 2008.

Christopher Knight writes in the Los Angeles Times:

Like his MOCA predecessors Jeremy Strick (1999-2009) and Jeffrey Deitch (2010-2013), Vergne was unable to make the transition from curator to director. That means MOCA, a major art museum of international significance, has been without an effective director going on 20 years — half its lifetime.

That desperately needs to change — and fast.

It is a testament to the museum's extraordinary history and position within the hearts and minds of the city's large and influential community of artists, collectors, critics and art audiences that the place hasn't just dissolved into dust. Still, it is doubtful it could survive another hiring flub.

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