Debate Over Potential Commercial Conflicts MoCA

by Art Fag City on March 18, 2010 · 7 comments Newswire

POST BY PADDY JOHNSON
Blum & Poe, art fag city
Blum & Poe facade

Lee Rosenbaum reports that Jeffrey Deitch has told her it’s impossible for him to sell off all his gallery holdings in three months, so he’ll have to continue some commercial activity while he’s director at MoCA. The problem with this is that Deitch could potentially boost his sales through the museum’s programing. Realistically speaking his hand in exhibitions probably won’t been seen for another 12 months though as museums typically work about a year ahead of schedule on shows. Even if he wanted to, it’s unlikely Deitch could engineer a profit scheme like this.

Opinion on the potential conflict is mixed. Like Rosenbaum, blogger Tyler Green thinks there are too many thorny issues at play. Greg Allen does not.  “AAMD: Directors can’t “deal,” but can “collect.” Allen told Green over twitter “Selling? No mention. Call me when MOCA trustee turns up as buyer of Deitch’s auctioned art”

Fair enough.

Regardless of all this though, it’s safe to say Deitch’s statements to the press have varied somewhat, at least to the degree that we don’t know when the actual selling will stop. I’d be happier if the public was given a little more insight on that, though liquidating an entire inventory of that size is no doubt extraordinarily difficult in such a short period of time, so I don’t think Deitch is exaggerating his position. I’m not well versed enough in the business of galleries or museums to predict the kind of conflicts that could arise in the sale Deitch’s inventory while he’s director, but would feel a lot more comfortable about the process if he was starting at MoCA this November as opposed to June.  Why chance the matter?

Meanwhile Culturemonster’s Christopher Knight reports that Museum of Contemporary Art will hold a fundraising event at Culver City’s blue chip gallery Blum & Poe. This is a bad idea. As Knight points out,

Appearances matter. In this case, there is no way to determine whether the relationship between the gallery and the museum is philanthropic or business-driven.

I suppose MoCA could vow never to buy art from Blum & Poe to mitigate the conflict of interest issues but I doubt that’s going to happen.

  • http://www.reedbarrow.com Reed

    Who cares about all this? really.?. I don’t understand why this is a debate? The opposition is based naively on an idealistic presupposition that the art world shouldn’t and doesn’t function as any other capitalistic economic model out there. Yes some artists could possibly prosper from Deitch taking the job but again who cares? Based on this news talking point why is there a discussion and debate about any ethical implications of Deitch’s new job. I know it makes for good blog traffic but….. the whole debate sounds young. If people are annoyed by it don’t go to the MOCA. Also stop buying cloths, driving cars, paying for gas, going to Starbucks, on and on and on. feels like an adbusters issue.

  • http://www.reedbarrow.com Reed

    Who cares about all this? really.?. I don’t understand why this is a debate? The opposition is based naively on an idealistic presupposition that the art world shouldn’t and doesn’t function as any other capitalistic economic model out there. Yes some artists could possibly prosper from Deitch taking the job but again who cares? Based on this news talking point why is there a discussion and debate about any ethical implications of Deitch’s new job. I know it makes for good blog traffic but….. the whole debate sounds young. If people are annoyed by it don’t go to the MOCA. Also stop buying cloths, driving cars, paying for gas, going to Starbucks, on and on and on. feels like an adbusters issue.

  • http://www.coagula.com Mat Gleason

    Where was Christopher Knight when MOCA held a Blum & Poe fundraiser in the guise of that Takashi Murakami retrospective? Oh yeah, he was in line to buy purses at the Luis Vuitton boutique in the middle of the museum.

  • http://www.coagula.com Mat Gleason

    Where was Christopher Knight when MOCA held a Blum & Poe fundraiser in the guise of that Takashi Murakami retrospective? Oh yeah, he was in line to buy purses at the Luis Vuitton boutique in the middle of the museum.

  • http://www.balanceofculture.com BalanceofCulture

    MOCA’s lack of real social capital is why they latch on to questionable “others.” With their embarrassing financial records and relentless pursuit of being “cool,” I don’t know if we can expect them to be consistent or forthcoming with their motives.

    Mat Gleason makes a great point that brings up lots of questions already.

    It’s a sticky topic:

    http://www.balanceofculture.com/2010/03/mocas-awkward-social-capital.html

  • http://www.balanceofculture.com BalanceofCulture

    MOCA’s lack of real social capital is why they latch on to questionable “others.” With their embarrassing financial records and relentless pursuit of being “cool,” I don’t know if we can expect them to be consistent or forthcoming with their motives.

    Mat Gleason makes a great point that brings up lots of questions already.

    It’s a sticky topic:

    http://www.balanceofculture.com/2010/03/mocas-awkward-social-capital.html

  • http://www.balanceofculture.com BalanceofCulture

    MOCA’s lack of real social capital is why they latch on to questionable “others.” With their embarrassing financial records and relentless pursuit of being “cool,” I don’t know if we can expect them to be consistent or forthcoming with their motives.

    Mat Gleason makes a great point that brings up lots of questions already.

    It’s a sticky topic:

    http://www.balanceofculture.com/2010/03/mocas-awkward-social-capital.html

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