MOCA exhibitions: 3 openings added, 1 closing clarified

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As reader BT notes in a comment, our story reminding folks that the Museum of Contemporary Art remains in the art exhibition biz — despite being semi-broke and not sure what to do about it — had the wrong date for the cost-saving closing of the Geffen Contemporary. It will stay open through the conclusion of ‘Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective,’ which ends Jan. 5, not Dec. 15 (that’s the closing date for the other current show at the Geffen, ‘Index: Conceptualism in California’).

The Kippenberger retrospective, a sprawling affair of 250 art works by the German artist who died at age 44 in 1997, is divided between both the Geffen and MOCA’s smaller Grand Avenue building. A hangar-like space such as the Geffen is a must for showing the German artist’s massive 1994 installation, ‘The Happy End of Franz Kafka’s ‘Amerika,’ ' which takes the form of a soccer field cluttered with office furniture and lined with bleacher seating.

After it leaves, the Geffen Contemporary will be shut down at least until June 30, 2009 — the remainder of MOCA’s fiscal year.

Soldiering on, the museum reports that it has added three shows on Grand Avenue that are not yet listed on its website. Not surprisingly, all are drawn from the museum’s permanent collection, which relieves it of the expense of packing, shipping and insuring borrowed artworks.


A show with a theme yet to be determined will open March 1. Coming June 21 are ‘A Changing Ratio: Painting, Sculpture and Photography From the Permanent Collection, 1949-76' and a photography display, ‘Permanent Collection: Robert Frank.’

MOCA’s most recent tax return, for 2006-2007, shows how costs can mount when museums book touring exhibitions or create their own from loaned artworks. That fiscal year the museum spent $225,000 in exhibition and loan fees, $1.33 million for shipping and $235,000 for crating. The traveling-show street runs in both directions, however: MOCA also earned $1 million in fees (plus bragging rights) for exhibitions it had originated and sent on the road to other museums.

— Mike Boehm

Top photo: Martin Kippenberger’s art installation ‘The Happy End of Franz Kafka’s ‘Amerika.’ ' Credit: ©Estate Martin Kippenberger/MOCA.

Bottom: Robert Frank’s photograph ‘The Americans’ (1956).Robert Frank/MOCA