MCA Santa Barbara Is Closing
|Installation view of "Shana Moulton: The Invisible Seventh Is the Mystic Column" (2021) at MCA Santa Barbara|
On August 28, the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara will close permanently after 47 years. The museum has been running a seven-figure deficit for some time, and the pandemic was described as "the final nail in the coffin." A Trustees' letter posted on the museum website says, "Repeated efforts to reach goals necessary to maintain our operations have fallen short, and it is the Board of Trustees' intention to act responsibly at this time in a last effort to preserve and honor this institution's legacy."
MCASB was Santa Barbara's primary venue for contemporary art. It had early shows of now-well known artists such as Ed and Nancy Kienholz, Wayne Thiebaud, John Baldessari, Barry McGee, Sanford Biggers, and Genevieve Gaignard.
By my count this makes seven Southern California art institutions that have closed in the past four years: the Pasadena Museum of California Art (2018), the Main Museum (2019), MOCA's Pacific Design Center branch (2019), the Marciano Art Foundation (2019), the Annenberg Space for Photography (2020), the Underground Museum (Mar. 2022)—and now MCA Santa Barbara.
I knew the museum in Pasadena was just a toy of the owners when I learned their residence was on the building's upper level.