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National Gallery in talks to pair with MOCA

March 12, 2013|By Mike Boehm
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art is the subject of talks with both LACMA and the National Gallery in Washington
The Museum of Contemporary Art is the subject of talks with both LACMA and… (Lee Sinco/Los Angeles Times )

The troubled Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art is in talks for a possible partnership with the National Gallery of Art in Washington, a development that could cloud MOCA’s acquisition by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The talks were initiated by billionaire Eli Broad, the MOCA board member and leading donor who opposed a 2008 attempt by the county museum to take over MOCA. According to National Gallery board Chairman John Wilmerding, the talks have focused on ways in which the federally funded museum in Washington, D.C. might help MOCA create fresh exhibitions.

The development was first reported by the New York Times.

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“The hope is that our name, our programming, our expertise gives them a sense of backbone and stability,” Wilmerding said Tuesday. “Eli Broad is confident about this, that their trustees can raise the money, rebuild the endowment and bring it back to a place of fullness.”

He added that the terms do not include a financial arrangement. “We’re not going to be providing a financial underpinning, or raise their endowment,” he said.

Broad declined comment, and MOCA officials did not return calls.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has proposed acquiring MOCA and raising $100 million as part of the union. LACMA Director Michael Govan has said his museum on Wilshire Boulevard’s Miracle Mile would preserve the MOCA name and keep its two downtown buildings in operation.

Govan said LACMA made its proposal at the invitation of MOCA board members but has yet to receive a formal response.

For more on this story, check back with Culture Monster.

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