After several tumultuous years, things at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art are starting to look up. In January, the museum announced that it had increased its formerly meager endowment to $100 million, and named well-respected curator Philipe Vergne director.
Another good sign is the return of three artist-trustees to L.A. MOCA’s board. Los Angeles-based artists John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger and Catherine Opie all left within a few days of each other in July 2012, to protest the way the museum and the board functioned under then-director Jeffrey Deitch. (Deitch announced his resignation in July 2013.) In a profile published in the Los Angeles Times, Opie specifically called out the museum for firing an employee in the education department the day after the artist donated a portfolio estimated at $150,000, the proceeds of which were intended to save that person’s job.
Mark Grotjahn, an abstract painter also based in L.A., will join Baldessari, Kruger and Opie on the board. Also returning are former trustees Kathi Cypres and Steven F. Roth (both left the board during the 2012 upheaval) and Maria Seferian, a lawyer and the museum’s former interim director.