Alana Semuels profiles Philippe Vergne for the Los Angeles Times. Vergne is no stranger to the city having in-laws who live there and relationships with some of the local artists. In fact, it is his artist-centric focus that seems to have gotten him the job:
“This is the artist’s institution,” said Vergne, 47, paraphrasing the founding principle of MOCA: “The Artist’s Museum.” “For me, it has to be the most innovative institution in this country.” […]
Catherine Opie, one of the artist trustees who resigned from MOCA’s board in protest over Deitch’s direction of the museum, knows Vergne from a residency at the Walker Art Center more than a decade ago. His personality and sense of humor puts artists at ease, said Opie by phone.
“He is incredibly gifted with being social, and his sense of humor, and he can talk to pretty much anybody,” said Opie, who was on MOCA’s search committee. Vergne will “be an artist-centric director,” she said, and “restore the confidence of artists in L.A. that MOCA is a place to be excited about.”
A first step in making MOCA more artist-centric would be to invite the four artists who resigned from the institution’s board to rejoin it, said Cindy Bernard, a Los Angeles artist who co-founded MOCA Mobilization in 2008, when the museum came close to shutting down, as a MOCA watchdog of sorts.
Vergne hopes to strike a balance, enhancing MOCA’s presence on the international scene while keeping in mind local artists and visitors.
New MOCA director Philippe Vergne plans an artist-enabling museum (Los Angeles Times)