Cranky critic Christopher Knight doesn’t approve of MoCA loaning a Frank Stella work to the Honor Fraser gallery though he can’t quite decide why he’s so upset. Apparently, it’s a conflict of interest (though we’re not told the interests that are in conflict,) doesn’t serve the museum’s educational mission, raises suspicion about the museum because of MoCA’s previous financial problems and … oh, the gallery isn’t sufficiently well guarded:
At issue is the loan of Frank Stella’s monumental canvas “Ctesiphon I,” which entered MOCA’s collection 14 years ago and has been shown there many times. Twenty feet wide and 10 feet high, the abstract painting is named for an ancient Mesopotamian city south of modern Baghdad.
MOCA lent the painting to Honor Fraser Gallery for “Openness and Clarity: Color Field Works From the 1960s and 1970s,” a group show organized by New York art dealer Hayden Dunbar. It was timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of “Post Painterly Abstraction,” a 1964 survey of new American paintings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Including Stella, five of the eight artists in the Fraser show were among the 31 artists originally presented at LACMA.
The gallery is using the museum loan to market the exhibition on its website and in press materials. Ten of the Fraser show’s 13 paintings, plus the single sculpture, are for sale.
According to a MOCA spokesman, the loan was approved by the museum’s Acquisition and Collection Committee 10 days prior to the show’s June 7 opening. The same financial arrangement with museums receiving MOCA loans was required of the gallery, including insurance, transportation and payment of an administrative loan fee.
MOCA’s questionable painting loan to a Culver City art gallery (Los Angeles Times)