Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why Are LACMA And MOCA Too Often Empty?

When you compare attendance figures of LA's two major contemporary and comprehensive art museums with their counterparts in New York and London - the difference is striking. Granted, they are much larger museums but even so when you are in them, it is rare that you will be even one room alone - much less in room after room in which you are the only person, as is too often the case at both MOCA and LACMA.

As for the reason why - as well as possible solutions - that is a subject for a later post. But below is one recent visitor's experience at LACMA:

posted by Beth Harris

The post below was co-written by Steven Zucker and Beth Harris
Spent the evening at LACMA , actually a small collection of museum buildings (including the new Broad Museum) separated by courtyards. The museums were all oddly empty. The exceptional exhibition of 20th century German Expressionism, a stunning new fabrication of Tony Smith’s Smoke, a terrific, if tiny Arts and Crafts exhibition, a well-represented collection of post-war American art, a European collection with some lovely canvases (including a great Gauguin), and two wondrous Serras were a treat but the empty galleries made us think perhaps the museum had closed and they had forgotten to shoo us out. Entrance to the museums was “pay as you wish” when we arrived in the early evening — so we knew the economy wasn’t the cause. Was everyone home watching Obama’s speech to congress?

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