LA Art Museum Accepts Billionaire's $30M Bailout - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

LA Art Museum Accepts Billionaire's $30M Bailout

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(AP) - Trustees of the financially troubled Museum of Contemporary Art have accepted a bailout from billionaire Eli Broad worth as much as $30 million, securing the collection's place in an emerging downtown cultural district that the philanthropist has aggressively backed.

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation promised to match donations to the museum's endowment up to $15 million and to give $15 million over five years toward exhibitions, museum officials said Tuesday.

By accepting the Broads' financial lifeline, the museum - better known as MOCA - obliged itself not to sell off any of its collection, to reject a merger proposed by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and to remain in its headquarters, which is designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Arata Isozaki.

"MOCA is one of the cultural and architectural jewels on Grand Avenue," said Eli Broad.

The board accepted the resignation of Jeremy Strick, MOCA's director for nine years, and replaced him with Charles E. Young, who was chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles for 29 years and president of the University of Florida for four years.

Young will become the museum's first chief executive officer and oversee day-to-day operations.

MOCA's collection of nearly 6,000 works of art produced since 1940, including pieces by Roy Lichtenstein, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and other modern masters, is considered the most comprehensive contemporary art museum in the western United States, but it has recently suffered from severe money shortages.

The Broad funding will be part of an overall campaign to raise $75 million for endowment and operating expenses, museum officials said.

"It will be the shot in the arm that MOCA needs to get it moving," said Young.

Young stressed that his tenure would only last as long as it took to restore the museum to a sound financial footing and select a new director to take over.

"We have to bring our expenses in line with our revenues and find new ongoing sources of revenue and create an endowment that will help to sustain MOCA's operation into the future," he said.

MOCA has said that that it borrowed more than $17 million against its endowment as of 2007. Under the museum's pact with Broad, it will no longer be able to use its endowment to secure loans.

Young also pledged to cooperate with an investigation by the California attorney general into the museum's finances, which museum officials disclosed in November.

Young's advisory committee will include John R. Lane, president and CEO of the New Art Trust and director emeritus of the Dallas Museum of Art; Joel Wachs, president of the Warhol Foundation; John Walsh, director emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Museum; and financial adviser Gary Cypres.

Broad was founding chairman of MOCA in 1979 and has been instrumental in establishing other arts institutions that line downtown's Grand Avenue, including the Frank Gehry-designed Disney Concert Hall and the Los Angeles Unified School District's sleek arts campus that is nearing completion.

He was also chairman of a committee overseeing a $3 billion shopping, hotel and condo complex planned for Grand Avenue. The project is also being designed by Gehry.

Broad characterized Los Angeles as one of the world's "four great cultural capitals" - beside New York, London and Paris - and said an independent MOCA was part of what gives the city a lasting artistic edge.

"Long after we're all gone, people won't remember the accounts of lawyers and bankers. They'll remember the great works of art and great architecture," he said.

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