Los Angeles MoCA hires Dia director
Philippe Vergne picked because he’s artist- and community-friendly, says Ed Ruscha, former artist-trustee
By Javier Pes. Web only
Published online: 16 January 2014
The new director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), Los Angeles, is Philippe Vergne, who is heading to southern California from the New York-based Dia Art Foundation, which he has led for the past five years. Vergne is the second Dia director to make the journey west. The director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Michael Govan, used to run Dia also.
The French-born director pointed out that he has family links to Los Angeles in a press statement (his wife is a native of the city). He was chosen because of his “deep understanding of artists and the art they make”, according to the artist Barbara Kruger, whose dissatisfaction with the direction of MoCA under Jeffrey Deitch led to her resignation as an artist-trustee, along with John Baldessari, Catherine Opie and Ed Ruscha. Ruscha said in the same statement: “We believe [Vergne] to be the most artist-friendly and at the same time most community-friendly choice to steer our ship.”
MoCA also announced recently that its money worries were a thing of the past. The institution, which was on the verge of financial meltdown before Deitch’s arrival, says that after a drive to rebuild its endowment by $100m, it has a “stronger financial base than ever before”.
Vergne, a graduate of the Sorbonne, was the deputy director and chief curator of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis before leading Dia. He worked in the Midwest for more than a decade leaving briefly in 2004 to be the head of François Pinault’s foundation. When the billionaire collector decided to move his gallery to Venice instead of opening one in Paris, Vergne returned to the Walker. He co-curated the Whitney Biennial in 2006.
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