Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles Completes First Phase of Endowment Campaign

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles has announced that it has met its goal of boosting its endowment to $100 million and now hopes to raise an additional $50 million to secure its financial future.

Launched last spring after MOCA rejected a proposal by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to merge its two downtown campuses with LACMA's much larger facilities, the  campaign to more than quadruple the museum's endowment achieved its goal in less than ten months. Donors to the campaign include the Annenberg, Brant, Eli and Edythe Broad, and Steven A. and Alexandra M. Cohen foundations; former MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch; board co-chairs Maria Bell and David Johnson and their spouses; and board vice-chair Lillian Lovelace.

"This is an incredible amount of money to be raised in such a short time and it really was broad-based," Maria Seferian, MOCA's interim director, told the Associated Press. "It was not one donor who [swept] in and decided to save the museum. About thirty donors all came together and decided the museum should continue."

MOCA, which has struggled financially for years, was in danger of going under when Eli Broad bailed it out in 2008 with a $30 million commitment. Broad temporarily halted payments to the institution in 2012, however, after the museum failed to match his pledge of $15 million to replenish its endowment. Meanwhile, financial concerns resurfaced after four prominent artists resigned from MOCA's board and four other trustees publicly criticized Deitch's management of the museum. The four artists — Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari, Catherine Opie, and Barbara Kruger — are again actively involved with the museum, Seferian told the AP, and are assisting in the search for a permanent director.

"With the help of the entire MOCA board and a worldwide community of supporters, MOCA has emerged from a pivotal phase to secure a sustainable financial future for the first time in its history," said Johnson. "This achievement reinforces our belief that MOCA's strength is critical to the independence and integrity of contemporary art and to the support of artists. We are grateful to our board and the community and interim director Maria Seferian for achieving this transformative goal."

"The Board of Trustees of the Museum Of Contemporary Art Unites to Raise Endowment to Over $100 Million." Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles Press Release 01/07/2014. "LA Contemporary Art Museum's Endowment Hits $100M." Associated Press 01/06/2014.