MOCA says chief curator Paul Schimmel resigned and wasn’t fired

The leaders of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s board of trustees said Friday that chief curator Paul Schimmel resigned and was not fired, as The Times and other news outlets had reported.

Board co-chairs Maria Bell and David Johnson said that Schimmel announced his resignation to both of them Monday.

“Paul wanted to resign, we reported that to the board, and the official resignation came through today,” Bell said.

“This is something that has been a general discussion for some time,” said Johnson. He called the parting “amicable” and said that Schimmel is “going to remain a great friend of MOCA.”


Several people familiar with the circumstances of Schimmel’s departure had told The Times he was fired. They did not want to be identified because they were not authorized to speak publicly about personnel changes at the museum.

In a Friday news release, the museum announced his resignation, celebrated Schimmel’s contributions to the museum and announced that a second-floor gallery space at the Geffen Contemporary building would be named for him. The release included a quote from Schimmel expressing appreciation for the gesture.

Schimmel could not be reached for comment.