2020 Was a Great Year for MOCA Acquisitions

Lauren Halsey, Briccs 2, 2020

MOCA has been acquiring art during the pandemic—everything from a Gee's Bend quilt (by Essie Bendolph Pettway) to an immortal digital lifeform (by Ian Cheng). The collection has augmented its holdings of Pattern & Decoration and self-taught Southerners; works on paper by Marjorie Cameron, Bruce Conner, and John Altoon; video (Gordon Matta-Clark, Carolee Schneemann, Petra Cortright, Mark Bradford, Cauleen Smith, and teamLab); photographs (Eleanor Antin, Harry Gamboa Jr., Reynaldo Rivera, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Candida Höfer). Architectural sculptures include Trulee Hall's Witch House and Lauren Halsey's Briccs 2.

Jordan Casteel, Memorial, 2017

Some of these new works are purchases from the museum's Acquisition and Collection Committee or Drawings and Photography Committee. Others are gifts from a wide spectrum of individual collectors, evidence that MOCA is rebuilding a network of astute donors. 

Several of the recent 2020-2021 acquisitions are on view. Notably they include marquee images for current shows: Rodney McMillian's White House II (in "Our House: Selections from MOCA's Collection"); Jennifer Packer's Idle Hands (in "Jennifer Packer: Every Shut Eye Ain't Sleep"); and Carmen Argote's Digesting Scroll ( in "Evidence: Selections from the Permanent Collection"). 

There's much more, posted on MOCA's site

Rodney McMillian, White House II, 2018-2020

Jennifer Packer, Idle Hands, 2021

Essie Bendolph Pettway, Two-sided quilt: Blocks and 'One Patch'–stacked squares and rectangles variation, 1973
Ian Cheng, BOB (Bag of Beliefs), 2018-2019
Trulee Hall, Witch House, 2020

Rafa Esparza, Taquero, 2021
Reynaldo Rivera, Melissa and Gaby, La Plaza, 1993
Dee Shapiro, Rotunda I, 1980

(Marjorie) Cameron, Lions Path, no date. Watercolor on paper


Anonymous said…
Is it me or does MOCA seem to only collect junk "art"? They collect "art" that is so esoteric and obscure that most museum-goers would just be bored and confused. I understand that art is supposed to challenge the viewer, but if you have to take a year-long course in art history to understand the meaning of these pieces, then what's the point?
Anonymous said…
It’s you.
Anonymous said…
So you really think hanging Christmas lights ("Untitled" - Last Light" by Felix Gonzalez-Torres), a pushbroom ("Closed for installation" by Fiona Connor) or a stack of tires ("Untitled" by Ann Greene Kelly) are all great acquisitions?

Anonymous said…
Shhh! You're not supposed to question the hivemind mentality! Art such as Christmas lights and pushbrooms are intellectually stimulating. If you don't like it, join the lowbrow peasants of the Lucas Museum where you can see art wannabe "illustrations" by Norman Rockwell!!
Anonymous said…
Felix Gonzales-Torres, MOCA you are the same museum you were a couple of years ago.
Anonymous said…
*not the same
Anonymous said…
I think museums need to realize that not all art is good, and even good artists can sometimes make bad art.
Anonymous said…
I passed on Halsey’s work from her last show at David Kordansky. It’s not there yet. I am not even sure there is a "yet".

As to the "astuteness" of MOCA’s collectors, did you see who donated the works by Petra Cortright? I would describe that collector as opportunistic, not astute.

Shame too that none of MOCA’s collectors were "astute" enough to donate something by Alex Da Corte. Unlike Halsey, he's "there" already as evidenced by his Met Roof Garden Commission (2021).
Anonymous said…
The New York Times asked a group of architects and design journalists to come up with a list of the 25 most significant works of postwar architecture:

Mies made the list twice.
Piano made the list (Pompidou Center with Rogers)
Zumthor made the list (Vals Baths).
Gehry did not make the list.

There's an interesting picture of the Baths in the article --- interesting because it gives one a sense of the scale of the new LACMA. In that picture, there is a large wall or solid which frames a view of the Alps. That wall or solid is about 27 to 30 feet high --- about the same height as the walls of the new LACMA pavilions. By the way, that 27 feet is also the height of the inner archway in the Arch of Titus. I bet Zumthor knew that.

Anonymous said…
Too much art of the past few decades comes off as oh-so-hip-oh-so-courant for oh-so-hip's, oh-so-courant's sake. Too much of it is like the opposite extreme of Thomas Kinkade.

Been there, done that.

Something between the two extremes would be nice for a change.
Anonymous said…
Weird to brag about acquisitions. It doesn't seem like 2020 was a good year for staff.

Anonymous said…
So hard to say what's good and what's not. Maybe I can come back in 40 years and check how often each of these will be shown or lent or just collecting dust in storage.