MOCA Postpones Gala to Spring Amid Turmoil in Top Ranks

MOCA's annual fundraising gala has been pushed to spring after at least seven directors resigned from the board this year

The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, plagued by internal turmoil, has passed on holding its annual fundraising gala this year.

The downtown museum said Friday that the event — it's biggest fundraiser — won't be held in 2012.  In recent years, musicians including Beck, Devendra Banhart, Kanye West and Lady Gaga have headlined the gala, usually slated for November. 

The next gala is scheduled for the spring of 2013.

The shift in timing comes amid the resignations of at least seven board members this year, including artists John Baldessari and Ed Ruscha. Paul Schimmel, the museum's longtime chief curator, was forced out in June.

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The departures began after current director Jeffrey Deitch, a former New York gallery owner, took over in January, 2010. After Schimmel left in June, Deitch initially said he would assume the role of curator. But MOCA's board said in August that it planned to hire a new curator.

A spokeswoman for the museum said that the galas are typically held once each fiscal year and that, while it has thrown the party for the last three consecutive years, MOCA has gone some years without an event.

"The point of a museum doing a gala is that it's a major fundraising initiative," Lyn Winter, a spokeswoman for MOCA, told TheWrap. "There is no format for when we do them or how often we do them."

In the past, MOCA has brought in as much as $4 million from its fundraising event.

The last time the museum missed a fall gala was in 2008, the same year MOCA found itself in severe financial straits. Billionaire Eli Broad, a founder of MOCA, rescued the museum with a $30-million bailout plan.

Winter said that while galas have been scheduled for November in recent years, they can be held at various time during the year.

"We have done over the course of the museum's history galas at all different times of the year," Winter said.