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A sign of the times. LA's Museum of Contemporary Art is in the grips of a financial crisis. The value of its investment portfolio has plummeted and it's having trouble covering its operating costs. Still,  Art:21 Blog reports that the local art community has rallied around the museum.

A sign of the times. LA's Museum of Contemporary Art is in the grips of a financial crisis. The value of its investment portfolio has plummeted and it's having trouble covering its operating costs. Still,  Art:21 Blog reports that the local art community has rallied around the museum.

On Sunday around 450 people showed up there - at the Gehry-designed Geffen Contemporary - to pledge their support. This was an artist-organised event sparked by last week's news in the LA Times that the gallery was in deep trouble. The gathering was hastily arranged a Facebook group, MoCA Mobilization set up by LA artist Cindy Bernard. Artforum reports that:

A number of prominent artists attended, including Paul and Mara McCarthy, Andrea Fraser, Katie Grinnan, Martin Kersels, Alexis Smith, Jennifer Steinkamp, and James Welling.

Among the speakers was artist Richard Jackson who urged LA to consider the value of the place: "I think we should get people to fill it all back up with money."

It's great to see artists taking collective action. But before you start filling it back up with money here are two (supposedly correct) facts in this LA Times piece. 1) That MoCA costs $20m a year to run. 2) That it averages 250,000 visits a year. If those figures are right, that's about. um,  $80 per visitor. Are those figures right? If so, in a city whose greater metropolitan population is somewhere around the 13 million mark, how come so few are turning out to see a collection of post-war American art that includes Rothkos, Lichtensteins, Rauchenbergs, Twombleys etc?

Mobilisation, however you spell it, is a wonderful thing. Anything that works in Downtown LA is a good idea. In times like this though, it makes you wonder if MoCA Mobilization shouldn't be making the case for something a little more ________*  than just filling it up with more money.

*Insert adjective of your choice here.

Thanks to Ray Castillo for the photo.

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