Sunday, February 24, 2008

MOCA Strikes Back

Is it a happy consequence of BCAM's opening?
In some sort of showdown with the new Wilshire babe, MOCA dug through its comprehensive collection to present Collecting Collections, a 260-piece exhibit retracing the museum's 27-year acquisition history, with a selection highlighting six decades of modern and contemporary art. All skillfully curated, with contextual notes and trivia from the individual artists. This is a first in the ten years that we have been regular MOCA visitors. Who would have thought that they had such gems in their coffers, if not for this show?

Could it be that the new BCAM piqued MOCA's pride? "MOCA has built a collection that goes beyond amassing striking, relevant and unique art objects," says the exhibition leaflet in a veiled jab at BCAM. "Its significance lies not only in its highlights, depth and breadth, but also in the fact that it is a touchstone for a variety of communites."

The real question is: why did MOCA wait so long to do a show like this? "Unlike those of many museums, MOCA's collection had never been installed permanently as a fixed canon, but instead has been presented in diverse and innovative ways by different curators -- thematically, historically, singly, and by donor." Pretty lame excuse, but this long-due initiative makes for a must-see show.

Caryn Coleman reviews/contrasts BCAM and MOCA for artreview. And to a friend who asked what "those three ugly little dogs" above are about, the answer is: they're Jeff Koons' -- before he went ballooney.
[update 02/27/08: A tale of two museums in LAT]
[update 03/25/08: Don' forget MOCA in LAT]
photos of artwork LA Frog