MOCA Buys Pope.L's "Trinket"

William Pope.L, Trinket, 2015. MOCA

Karen K. Ho, writing in ARTnews
, reports that MOCA has bought William Pope.L's Trinket, the massive, gradually disintegrating U.S. flag that was shown at MOCA Geffen in 2015. According to curator Bennett Simpson, the museum had always wanted to acquire the piece but was concerned about the conservation issues it raised. The flag is essentially destroyed in the process of displaying it, and the wind (from rented industrial fans) precludes displaying it with other works of art. Pope.L approved using a new flag for each showing and laid out two nondestructive ways of displaying the piece that would allow it to be shown in group exhibitions. These involve showing the flag folded in a plexiglas box, as at a military funeral; or displaying a frayed flag in its incomplete state.

MOCA has a group of 20 drawings by Pope.L. Trinket becomes the first large-scale work by the artist in a public L.A. collection.


I only knew him from his photography.
See his excellent photo series, "How Much is that Nigger in the Window a.k.a. Tompkins Square Crawl," of 1991, at MoMA:
Anonymous said…
I visited MOCA's building on Grand Ave across from the Broad a few weeks ago. The museum's size makes it seem less like the cool kid on the block. Even the Broad would be a bit more satisfying if its footprint were larger too. But the more modest square footage of MOCA's Izozaki-designed galleries, although free now too, comes off as too tentative, more like a passing fancy.

If the building on Grand were physically (not just legally, operationally) connected to the building near 1st St and Alameda that would give the 1986-era location more substance. The reason being that when too many of a museum's stand-out pieces are gathering dust in storage rooms, oh-kay, size does matter.
Anonymous said…
There's nothing "tentative" about Isozaki's design.

What is the passing "fancy" in envisioning a museum as a sort of underground tomb? It's a way of imparting "monumentality" to a program with strict height limitations.

Size only matters to those with SDE.
Anonymous said…
Great acquisition by MOCA. Just hoping we get to see it soon - and not wait a decade or more before it’s on exhibit.

MOCA Grand is fine. I have a problem with the museum installing art with lots of gaps between artworks, wasting lots of wall space for a facility not big to begin with. I’m sure they could have added 15-25 pieces in the current installation if they wanted to.
Anonymous said…
> There's nothing "tentative" about Isozaki's design.

Whether it is to you or not, it's the square footage (repeat: square footage, not design) that makes MOCA Grand come off as tentative -ie uncertain - to me. And I don't know what SDE is, but when major portions of the museum's collection are never on continuous, or even sporadic, display (and that's a given when space is so limited), you better believe that size matters.
Anonymous said…
I realize that funding for non-profits isn't easy when institutions are competing for a finite pool of money. And that looming jitters in the national-international economy add way more pressure too. But it would be nice if this upcoming panel discussion at MOCA were able to discuss its expansion on Grand Avenue. Incidentally, Arata Izozaki regrettably passed away not too many months ago:
Anonymous said…
Paul Schimmel, the former curator at MOCA, grew the collection from less than 1000 to more than 6000 during his tenure. Thank God for his great eye and his spend-thriftiness, because in hindsight, he built one of LA's great art collections. Now, it seems as if MOCA is in a drought in terms of acquisitions. And it needs another Schimmel-like era to stay relevant. How are people going to view the collection in another 30 years and MOCA hasn't really acquired much, especially on the level during Schimmel's era.

In terms of the current building, I wonder how many who see the Broad but completely skip the museum with a better art collection? I know MOCA coming back from near bankruptcy but considering how so many LA art institutions are renovating and successfully funding, MOCA seems like the last hold out in LA to launch a major capital campaign for a new building or expansion that can permanently show off its magnificent collection that's rotating through storage, something it desperately needs.
Anonymous said…
Paul Schimmel might've added over 5,000 artworks but what's the point in acquiring so much art if you can only show like 50 at a time? What is weird is that even though MOCA is so small, there's still room to show more artworks, but the curators always leave like several feet in between each artwork. I understand that each artwork needs its own space to become a fully immersive experience, but MOCA doesn't have enough square footage for that luxury.
Anonymous said…
MOCA is probably the worst run museum in LA. It's always having issues with funding, management, diversity and attendance. Look at the reviews on Yelp or Tripadvisor, and compare them to the Broad, LACMA or Getty. It's also the worst reviewed museum in LA.
Anonymous said…
> but the curators always leave like several feet in
> between each artwork.

That's another thing that bothers me about not just MOCA but various other museums too---mainly of the visual arts. I get why the hip-and-trendy love blank, open, white-wall spaces (and places like the Louvre are the opposite extreme), but I imagine even people with short-attention spans tend to find MOCA on Grand (even it being now free to enter) as a case of, "is that all there is?"

Somewhat related, all the floor-to-ceiling windows of the rebuilt LACMA are another luxury that the county-owned institution can't afford. Although the quality of its collections make certain people sniff about the museum not needing as much space as possible, the fact remains that the Zumthor-designed structure will have less space for displays than the former buildings did.
Anonymous said…
MOCA would be better off if it joined with The Broad, LACMA or Getty. How great would it be if the Getty had a Downtown location?
Anonymous said…
The obsession of some here with square footage is ridiculous.

Most people are NOT astute enough to understand one piece of art, let alone a whole room full.

Yet, they want to see it all, all at once.

Anonymous said…
good. work