MOCA's Philippe Vergne likely to start in early March

MOCA's Philippe Vergne likely to start in early March
Philippe Vergne poses for a portrait at the Dia Art Foundation in New York. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

The Museum of Contemporary Art's new director, Philippe Vergne, will likely start work in early March, a spokesman for the museum said Thursday.

However, the MOCA spokesman added that an exact date for Vergne's arrival is not set in stone.

Michael H. Miller first reported on that Vergne would assume his post next month. MOCA had previously said his start date had not been determined.

One thing is certain: Vergne is set to be at the museum's 35th anniversary gala on March 29, either officially in his new role at the museum or as a guest of honor celebrating his appointment.


The big-ticket fundraiser -- $2,500 to $10,000 for individuals -- is to be held at the Geffen Contemporary. Guests are to get a preview of the much-anticipated exhibition "Mike Kelley," spanning works from the '70s to the present and the first comprehensive survey of the artist's work since 1993. The exhibition is scheduled to open March 31.

The gala not only marks Vergne's recent appointment, but spotlights new board co-chairs Maurice Marciano and Lilly Tartikoff Karatz. The museum is also toasting having reached its endowment goal of $100 million, with a new goal set at $150 million.

In his first interview after the announcement of his appointment, Vergne talked about his vision for the museum under his leadership.

"My vision is to commit to the most experimental artists of our time, but also to contextualize their work within a broader context," he said. "And I think MOCA's collection is one of the best to contextualize that kind of experimentation."


Twitter: @debvankin