MOCA announces more than 50 acquisitions for 2009

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The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles spent much of 2009 getting its financial house in order after coming perilously close to collapse due to budgetary mismanagement. But the museum’s near-death experience apparently didn’t stop it from adding major works of art to its permanent collection last year.

MOCA said Wednesday that in 2009 it acquired more than 50 ‘significant’ artworks in a range of media, including paintings, sculptures, video, multimedia installations, drawings and photographs. It said the works were added to its collection through gifts and purchases.


Among the major acquisitions were Bruce Nauman’s ‘Setting a Good Corner (Allegory & Metaphor)’ (1999), a video work that came from Alan S. Hergott and Curt Shepard; Jennifer Pastor’s ‘Christmas Flood’ (1994), a sculpture from Eileen and Michael Cohen; and Mike Kelley’s drawing ‘Untitled (From a Little Girl’s Room)’ (1980), which was one of three gifts from Kourosh Larizadeh and Luis Pardo.

[Updated at 3:25: An earlier version of this post misspelled Curt Shepard’s last name as Shephard.]

The museum said it added some new names to its collection, including artists David Altmejd, Mark Dion, Máximo González, Mary Kelly, Karen Kilimnik, Lara Schnitger and Andreas Siekmann.

Some of the museum’s recent acquisitions are currently on view in the exhibition ‘Collection: MOCA’s First Thirty Years.’ They include Altmejd’s ‘The Egg’ (2006) and Paul McCarthy’s ‘Tokyo Santa, Santa’s Trees’ (1996/99).

In addition, MOCA said it has deepened its holdings of works by Los Angeles-based artists, including McCarthy, Pastor, Lisa Lapinski and Jason Rhoades.

Other recent acquisitions include Dion’s large-scale installation ‘When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (Toys ‘R’ U.S.)’ (1994), a gift of Per Skarstedt; González’s '¿Dónde se han ido las flores?’ (2006), a gift of Dirk Denison; and Schnitger’s sculpture ‘Going Topside’ (2009), which the museum said was purchased with funds provided by Andre Sakhai.

MOCA said it has approximately 6,000 works in its holdings.

In 2009, MOCA took steps to reduce staff and exhibitions in an effort to balance its budget. The museum’s fiscal troubles came to light in late 2008, with reports saying that the institution burned through $20 million in unrestricted funds and borrowed $7.5 million from other accounts.

Since then, the museum has stated that its financial problems have been fixed, thanks in part to intervention by Eli Broad and other donors.

The museum announced in January that Jeffrey Deitch, a New York-based art dealer, will assume the role of director.

-- David Ng