10 August, 2012
Los Angeles billionaire art benefactor Eli Broad did not make two recent scheduled payments, in October and January, on a $15-million pledge to fund exhibitions at the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art because the institution has $2.1-million in unspent programming grants, says Bloomberg.
The commitment represents half of the philanthropist and property developer’s $30-million 2008 bailout package for the museum, known as MOCA. It is being paid out in quarterly $75,000 installments over five years, but scheduled October 2011 and January 2012 payments were not made, according to a museum budget update.
“Once our unspent exhibition funds have been used, we will make additional payments,” said Karen Denne, a spokeswoman for Mr. Broad.
MOCA’s financial turnaround, which began with Mr. Broad’s 2008 rescue, has stalled under Jeffrey Deitch, the museum’s director since 2010, according to Bloomberg. While attendance has doubled since Mr. Deitch took office, fundraising has declined, and MOCA has raised its cost projections for this year.
The controversy surrounding Jeffrey Deitch has reached a fever pitch and the museum’s financial situation appears murky at best.
But when you’re as loaded as Broad is, you don’t keep all your chips in in one museum. In 2008, Broad built a contemporary extension at the Los Angeles County Art Museum called the Broad Contemporary Art Museum. The Eli and Edythe Broad Museum will open later this year at his alma mater, Michigan State University. All the while, he’s been sculpting his crown jewel: The Broad, a sprawling, honeycomb structure in downtown LA that will house his personal contemporary art collection. The Broad will certainly be a formidable rival to the struggling MOCA. Some even speculate that by saving MOCA, Broad deviously laid plans to absorb the museum’s collection into his own planned institution.
Finally, MOCA needs Broad, but Broad doesn’t necessarily need MOCA.