Marciano Lockout: This Won't End Well

Goshka Macuga, Of what is, that it is; of what is not, that it is not 2, 2012 (detail of wool tapestry). Marciano Art Foundation
It's hard to think of an upside to the news the Marciano Art Foundation is shutting down "until further notice," evidently in response to a drive to unionize its visitor service associates. That would make the closure a management lockout, a union-busting tactic used by Henry Clay Frick in that other gilded age. But even Frick wasn't running a public museum then (1892).

What are the Marcianos thinking? What's their exit strategy?

Preventing workers from organizing is against the law, so there's that. But a no less important consideration for the Marcianos ought to be their institution's public image. California is a blue state, and Hollywood is a union town. It's hard to imagine that many, or any, of the artists in the Marciano collection wouldn't side with the workers over the Marcianos. Yes, cancel culture can be unfair and one-dimensional—that's why smart institutions don't paint a hashtag on themselves.
Sam Durant, Let's Behave Like Americans, 2007. Marciano Art Foundation


Anonymous said…
"Low attendance" is just as much a part of the story as any other, even more so when visitors get in free. That along with the fact the Marciano isn't making and selling things like iphones, sensational ice cream or medicinal marijuana makes some of the staffers, likely already of a skeleton size, to non-profits and employment what the person running another museum west of the Marciano on Wilshire Blvd is to cultural institutions and budgets.

Good going!