MOCA Catalogue Sale!!!

My favorite part of a museum visit is always the bookstore and a recent visit to see Dan Graham at MOCA was no different. Only this time, we are all the beneficiaries of MOCA’s recent financial woes. They are having a huge sale on MOCA publications. I got the above five books for just over $100, and that was after paying full price for the Dan Graham catalog. I only bought older catalogues that were 50 percent off, but others were available for 25 percent off.

As I’ve heard a few people say, the best part of a MOCA show is always the catalog. Beautiful designs, lush photographs, revelatory essays, smart interviews—it often seems that the show is the catalog. Will this level of catalog production continue in the future? I’m not sure, but for now, you can get a piece of MOCA’s lavish spending over the past 10 years for half off. Unfortunately, I think you have to go in person to get these discounts, but I’ve put Amazon links below. Often, the used book price is about the same.

Here’s what I got:

For $15 (Retail $30):
Cotton Puffs, Q-tips(r), Smoke and Mirrors: The Drawings of Ed Ruscha

For $25 (Retail $50):
Gordon Matta-Clark: You Are the Measure

For $10 (Retail $40 but it was marked down to $20):
Rodney Graham: A Little Thought

For $17 (Retail $50, but it was marked down to $35):
Zero to Infinity: Art Povera: 1962-1972

And then, the Dan Graham: Beyond catalog, which I paid retail for. (Shoulda waited and bought it for cheaper on Amazon!) I can’t really say enough about this Dan Graham catalog. Not knowing too much about him, the show was a bit mystifying until I got to later mirror and glass work. But this catalog has interviews by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and artist Rodney Graham! A Manga Dan Graham Story! Writings by Dan Graham! Essays by important essay writer people! I now want to go back and stick my nose up close to his work, especially the early stuff.

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Jeff Koons and art as big bling

With reference to the post below on the value of art, The Art Newspaper reports that the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is about to commission Jeff Koons to create a sculpture of a life size replica of a train that will dangle from a crane – commemorating the railroad’s part in 19th century America’s westward migration. “We’re talking about a $25m work,” says Koons.

Twenty-five million makes it the most expensive artwork ever commissioned by a museum – even more expensive than Richard Serra’s $20m commission for the Guggenheim, Bilbao. Talks between LACMA and Koons began two years go, in those long-gone days when it looked like the boom was going on for ever. In times like these, it seems absurd for an art institution to be shelling out this much for a single artwork. And you don’t even have to be of the Patti Smith opinion, that Koons’ work is “just litter upon the earth”, to think this kind of commission is a very bad idea right now.

I was in Los Angeles a couple of months ago. The nature of the city means that the larger art institutions like LACMA and the struggling MOCA seem to have so little connnection to the real life of the city.

The artist Fritz Haeg, who I interviewed for a piece in The Observer that’s coming up on April 18 talked about this. “The way LA operates is not in the way of a European urban system of a top-down institution. It’s much more networked. This is an artists’ town, and there are a lot of small artist-run spaces that people feel more connected to personally than they do the museums.”

In this climate, in that city, the Koons commission way looks too much like art as big shiny bling.

Photo of Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog (Yellow) 1994-2000 taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, by Ken Applebaum

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology

Used Art Books for Less Than $10: A Recession 2009 Special Investigation

{Likeness: Portraits Of Artists By Other Artists, available at Amazon for $0.24!}

Here at the Eco Art Blog, we’re big fans of used books. And though the NYTimes recently pointed to the online used book market as another nail in the retail bookstore coffin, you really can’t beat some of these prices.

Here’s a selection dirt-cheap used art books from third-party sellers. The criteria for this list was to find quality books for less than $10 with shipping.

Chris Burden: When Robots Ruled the Air from the Tate Museum. Prices start at $0.39 plus shipping.

Plato and Platypus Walk Into a Bar, $4.89 plus shipping (John Baldessari put this in a recent Artforum Top 10. I read it—it’s entertaining but basic)

Charles Ray, published by MOCA in 1998 along with his mid-career retrospective. A steal at $4.95 used. My guess is it’s cheap because there’s no photo on the book’s Amazon page.

Likeness, Portraits of Artists by Other Artists
. Two copies at $0.24.

Baja to Vancouver: The West Coast and Contemporary Art, from CCA Wattis. Starting at $3.45.

Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas. A great show at MOCA organized by Sam Durant. A little beyond above our $10 limit, but there’s one copy for $10.49.

Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent Van Gogh. A classic for just $0.01.

Contemporary Voices. Haven’t seen this MOMA catalog in person, but it might be ok. And it’s only $3.32.

Richard Serra/Dirk Reinartz: Te Tuhirangi Countour, get it from Seattle Goodwill for just $2.99.

This list could go on and on. There are definitely some cheap books out there to build your library or gift to your friends. Nothing says Depression 2009 like bargain art books!
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MOCA faces serious financial problems

From the LA Times:

Since its inception, MOCA has grown to encompass three exhibition spaces. The “Temporary Contemporary,” later renamed the Geffen Contemporary, opened in 1983 in a warehouse at the edge of Little Tokyo that had been revamped by architect Frank Gehry. Three years later, the museum’s permanent home, designed by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, opened on Grand Avenue, where it is a mainstay of the planned redesign of the area known as the Grand Avenue project. In 2000, MOCA acquired an exhibition space at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

Before the national economic crisis hit, Strick said, MOCA was gearing up gradually for its first major endowment campaign since the mid-1990s, when it raised $25 million. Now, he said, there’s no time for that, and the focus is on “immediate issues and how to move ahead in a very different world.”

An irony of MOCA’s plight is that, thanks to the appetite of wealthy international collectors, the market value of its prime pieces has soared. Corporations and individuals routinely sell sculptures and paintings in an economic pinch, but a museum that did so would be violating its reason for existing, which is keeping art in the public domain. The codes of ethics of both the American Assn. of Museums and the Assn. of Art Museum Directors, although not legally binding, specify that the only acceptable reason for selling artworks from a public collection is to raise money for buying other, presumably more desirable, pieces.

As a Native Angeleno and frequenter of MOCA (admittedly primarily the Grand Avenue and Geffen Locations) this is a tragedy to me in my personal arts participation. To me this highlights the issues of reliance on contributed income in the arts world. 

See the Original Article by Clicking Here.