WME’s Ari Emanuel Named to MOCA Board

Maurice Marciano, the co-founder of Guess jeans, was also named to the board

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles announced Wednesday that it has named Hollywood heavyweight Ari Emanuel and Guess apparel co-founder Maurice Marciano to its board of directors.

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Emanuel (left) is the co-chairman of William Morris Endeavor agency. A noted art collector, he is also the brother of Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago and former chief of staff for President Barack Obama.

Marciano, a co-founder of the denim company Guess, previously served on the MOCA board for seven months in 2008.

Trustees play a critical role in funding the nonprofit museum. Each member is expected to pay annual dues of $75,000, along with a $250,000 initiation fee. 

The new appointments come during a tumultuous year for the museum, which following the appointment of New York gallery owner Jeffrey Deitch as museum director in January 2010.

Deitch, with support from the board, shifted in the direction of exhibitions to more populist fare, such as a graffiti art show and an exhibition of the work of the late actor Dennis Hopper.

In June, longtime chief curator Paul Schimmel was ousted after 22 years at the museum. Following his departure, eight trustees — including artists John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger, Catherine Opie and Ed Ruscha — either resigned or refused to renew their terms.

The museum's budget also plummeted to levels reportedly not seen in 20 years, leading to the layoff of seven staff members three months ago.

Also read: MOCA Postpones Gala to Spring Amid Turmoil in Top Ranks

Early last month, the museum postponed its annual gala — its largest fund-raising event of the year — from November to the spring of 2013.

In a statement Wednesday, MOCA praised Emanuel for his "instrumental" role during the last two years in developing MOCAtv, an art video page launched on Monday as one of YouTube's premium content channels.

"His dynamic role in developing some of the strongest creative talent in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles and beyond will be a great asset to the museum and its future programming," Maria Arena Bell, co-chairwoman of MOCA's board, said in the statement.

Marciano, is an avid art collector. The Marseilles, France, native donated a sculpture by Sterling Ruby and a painting by Wade Guyton to the museum, and has promised to also give a painting by Tauba Auerbach.

"We are delighted that Maurice Marciano has returned to the MOCA board," Bell said. "His vision, creative eye and commitment to art and fashion on an international scale will be extremely valuable to the museum."