Eli Broad offers $30 million to save MOCA

The philanthropist and art collector writes in an L.A. Times Op-Ed piece that with the Museum of Contemporary Art downtown reeling financially, "the time has again come for this city to step up." Broad, the founding chairman of MOCA, frames it as an open letter to the city's givers to join him — calling the museum crucial to Broad's $3 billion Grand Avenue civic project:

I'd like to make a proposal to the MOCA board and to the civic angels of Los Angeles. I'll step up if you do too. The Broad Art Foundation is prepared to make a significant investment in MOCA -- $30 million -- with the expectation that the museum's board and others join in this effort to solve the institution's financial problems. It is vital that the museum remain on Grand Avenue, keep its collection and continue its tradition of world-class exhibitions.

This is not a one-philanthropist town. MOCA's needs are great and will require the financial assistance of numerous supporters. Already, civic leaders and artists have begun to rally behind the museum to keep its doors open. But with a global recession that has hit every American's pocketbook, charitable giving has declined.

The philanthropic community must not turn its back on MOCA. We must make it one of our civic priorities.


As the board member who negotiated the acquisition of the Abstract Expressionist and Pop Art works in the renowned Panza collection, I know firsthand what a treasure trove of artworks it has. The greatest travesty to come out of MOCA's current financial crisis would be for it to sell any of its artworks to cover operating deficits -- an action that would be anathema for a museum.

While the MOCA board evaluates its options, the overarching priority should be to keep MOCA independent.

More at the Times' site. Meanwhile, Times reporters Mike Boehm and Diane Haithman speculate whether Broad would demand any considerations in return for his money — and break the news that the state Attorney General's office has begun looking at MOCA's finances.

Noted: A new online archive of every MOCA exhibition from 1983 to the present, via Modern Art Notes.

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