Frank Gehry has unveiled renderings of its shortlisted entry for the competition to design the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), the predestined showstopper of Beijing’s new cultural district. Gehry was shortlisted alongside fellow Pritzker Prize winners Jean Nouvel and Zaha Hadid for the high-profile project. Gehry’s submission incorporates transparent cladding, an interior comprised of lofty, geometric courtyards evocative of pagodas and temples, and a layout that would accommodate nearly 12 million annual visitors.
There has been no official confirmation, but we’ve heard from several people involved with the show that Thom Mayne and his firm Morphosis are now leading the show, not curator Christopher Mount. Participants confirm that emails are now coming from Morphosis, not MOCA, while the show’s assistant curator Johanna Vandemoortele last week sent out an email that she had already departed from MOCA. Mount was not available for comment, but Mayne’s spokesperson Legier Stahl noted: “It is a collective, community effort. We are just helping to facilitate.” Rumor has it that Mayne is considering adding more participants, including Wes Jones, John Enright, Hitoshi Abe, and Qingyun. Stay tuned as the saga continues.
AN just heard from MOCA that their embattled show, A New Sculpturalism, Contemporary Architecture in Southern California, is moving ahead. The date has been pushed back from June 2 to June 16, but it will still take place inside MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary, presumably featuring the same roster of both emerging and star architects, minus Frank Gehry, of course. The show had been put on hold for several weeks for reasons that vary according to whom you ask. Curator Christopher Mount had blamed mismanagement at MOCA, while others had blamed apprehension about the show’s direction, and Gehry’s withdrawal.
Los Angeles architect Arshia Mahmoodi, founder of the firm VOID, has launched an online petition to try to help save the troubled exhibition, A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture in Southern California at MOCA. The show, scheduled for a June 2nd opening, is currently in a holding pattern, and its curator Christopher Mount told AN he feared it would be cancelled. Mount blames mismanagement at MOCA, while several news reports have pointed to general apprehension about the show, and the recent withdrawal of Frank Gehry. Mahmoodi released the petition—directed to MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch—yesterday.
The intrigue continues at MOCA, whose upcoming show A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture in Southern California, is close to being cancelled, according to multiple sources. The show’s curator Christopher Mount has told AN that Frank Gehry’s withdrawal is not the cause for the exhibition’s possible demise, as was suggested yesterday in the Los Angeles Times. The real reason, he said: MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch, who halted installation of the show a few weeks ago, claiming that money for the undertaking had run out. Mount, however, says there is plenty of money left in the show’s budget. Read More
Now we’re really confused. Amidst reports that LA’s MOCA might be taken over by LACMA or USC, now we hear via the New York Times that the struggling institution might now join forces with the National Gallery in Washington D.C. According to John Wilmerding, the chairman of the Gallery’s board of trustees, MOCA is “close to working out a five-year agreement…to collaborate on programming, research and exhibitions.” The deal wouldn’t include fundraising assistance, but would obviously bolster MOCA’s ability to raise money with the National Gallery’s high profile assistance on programming, exhibitions, research, curation, and staffing. Oh, and guess who approached the National Gallery, according to the story: MOCA board chair Eli Broad, who has made it clear he doesn’t want to be swallowed by LACMA. Stay tuned as this saga plays out.
As confirmed on its blog yesterday, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has made a proposal to acquire the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (MOCA). ”Our chief desire is to see MOCA’s program continue and to serve the many artists and other Angelenos, for whom MOCA means so much,” said LACMA director Michael Govan in an online letter. Reportedly LACMA would preserve MOCA’s two buildings, located on Grand Avenue and in Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles. According to the LA Times, the offer was made back on February 24. As part of the arrangement, LACMA would raise $100 million for the combined museums as a condition for completing the deal, according to their story.
Another suitor for struggling MOCA is the University of Southern California (USC), which has been reported to have been in talks to merge with MOCA as well. That arrangement has a model in UCLA, which is partnered with the Hammer Museum in Westwood. Either way, it looks like something has to be done about financially-troubled MOCA: “If not us, who?” Mr. Govan said in an interview with the New York Times yesterday.
Street artist Blu recently made LA headlines when his commissioned mural for MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary (featuring coffins draped by dollar bills) was subsequently whitewashed by MOCA itself. In a statement, MOCA called the mural, which was across from the LA Veterans’ Affairs Hospital, “inappropriate,” and the move has angered (to say the least) the street art community.
For those of you unfamiliar with Blu, please take a look at this video, called Big Bang Big Boom. There are no special effects, just stop-action animation; a dazzling combination of architecture and art. It’s unclear where he shot this piece, but he obviously needed to find an area with lots of empty, and largely abandoned, walls and lots. We’re blown away, so to speak.
Now that downtown LA has tossed its hat into the ring to compete for Eli Broad’s new contemporary art museum, we’ve finally reached Broad saturation. Broad has gotten the cities of Santa Monica, Culver City, and Beverly Hills to also compete for the museum, assuring that he gets the sweetest of sweetheart deals. Meanwhile, he basically controls most of the major public architecture and art in the city. There’s now the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, the Broad Contemporary Art Museum in Miracle Mile, the Broad Art Center at UCLA, as well as MOCA (bailed out and greatly influenced by Broad), the LA High School For the Performing Arts (largely funded by Broad), Disney Hall (pushed and funded by Broad), and the Grand Avenue Project (also largely supported by Broad). Phew. It’s great to have a guiding hand and all, but GEEZ! Ok, we promise not to mention the name Broad again. Until at least tomorrow…
UPDATE: A source close to the museum writes in with this: “Who knows what Deitch will do? It probably depends on what Eli Broad tells him to do.” Which is pretty much what you might have guessed reading the (New York) Times‘ story on the whole affair on the Arts front today. Looking for hints in Tyler Green’s first-out-the-gate interview with Deitch, we found none. Design was mentioned exactly once, in reference to a MOCA satellite at the Pacific Design Center. And yet Deitch’s shows and showiness have a certain architectural scale about them. As always, anything goes and anything can happen.
We knew Rem Koolhaas had a crush on Miuccia Prada, but now Frank Gehry and her have teamed up, and it’s not for a new “epicenter.” As The New Yorker details in a Talk piece this week, the Santa Monica architect was asked by his artist friend Francesco Vezzoli to design a hat for none other than walking art piece Lady Gaga, and the hat, along with her dress, were made by Prada for a benefit at LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art last month. As Dana Goodyear describes it, “Gaga wore the Gehry hat all folded in on itself, a millinery version of Walt Disney Hall.” But this being The New Yorker, there were no pictures, only a drawing, so we had to see the hat for ourselves, which, thanks to Gaga Daily, we found it. Read More