Orange County Museum of Art Squanders Latin American Art Grant

The show is not yet on the calendar.

ocma-pacific-standard-time-la-la
The OCMA has some questions to answer. Photo: Buzz Buzz Home

Last year the Orange County Museum of Art was one of around 40 Southern Californian institutions to receive a research grant from the Getty Foundation to present exhibitions on Latin American and US Latino art, under the title “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that OCMA was amongst the top beneficiaries, pocketing $170,000 to put on a show about Latin American light and kinetic art from the 1960s.

One year later questions are emerging over how the money is being spent. In March the museum laid off five employees including chief curator Dan Cameron. According to a museum spokesman the layoffs were part of a staff reshuffle, adding that the museum was “reviewing” its exhibition schedule (see Curator Dan Cameron Laid Off from Orange County Museum amid Restructuring by New Director Todd DeShields Smith).

But two months on, the new exhibition schedule still hasn’t been announced. At the same time it has emerged that Cameron, who was laid off by the museum, is still working on the exhibition.

He told the Los Angeles Times, “The research grant that [the Getty] gave for the project is still in effect and I’m using it on planned travel and research in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, and, of course, Paris, where so many of the artists lived after the late 1950s.”

He added “I’ve already met with dozens of experts in the field and seen hundreds of pieces in museums, foundations, banks, and private homes. This research will continue until the end of the year.”

Additional questions are being asked over the venue in which the “PST: LA/LA” exhibition is to be held. The start of OCMA’s planned mammoth expansion project in 2017 coincides with the show’s proposed dates.

During construction the museum may be forced to relocate into a smaller temporary space which may not be able to house the show’s installations and large-scale environments.

Meanwhile, the Getty is keeping their cards close to their chest. “We are exploring various options and hope to have news about the ‘Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA’ exhibition soon,” a spokesman said.

He did not comment on why a former OCMA employee is still receiving the foundation’s funds, or what alternative venue the proposed exhibition will take place in in 2017.


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