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Broad-Backed L.A. MOCA Mulls Aid, Merger as Revenue Slips

Eli Broad
Eli Broad, the billionaire philanthropist and co-founder of KB Home. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles is considering takeover proposals or offers of assistance from at least three institutions after a drop in revenue and the departures of board members.

The museum will consider options at a March 15 board meeting, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who declined to be identified because the deliberations are private. Lyn Winter, a spokeswoman for MOCA, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Billionaire Eli Broad may hold the key to the next step. A funding accord with the local philanthropist, a MOCA co-founder, bars a merger with another local institution. Meanwhile, he’s building his own museum across the street from MOCA’s downtown headquarters. Karen Denne, a spokeswoman for Broad, 79, declined to comment.

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has expressed interest in a five-year collaboration on programming, research and exhibitions, the New York Times reported yesterday.

The gallery “is continuing to discuss programmatic opportunities with L.A. MOCA and has nothing to report at this time,” Deborah Ziska, a spokeswoman, said in a statement. “There has been no formal decision or vote on this by the NGA Board of Trustees.”

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art proposed a merger last month, Chief Executive Officer Michael Govan said in a statement. The University of Southern California has expressed interest in a partnership with the museum, which has more than 6,000 pieces of contemporary art, according to Elizabeth Garrett, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Contributions and grants to MOCA fell 22 percent to $14.6 million in the year ended June 30, 2011, the latest publicly available data. Four prominent contemporary artists quit the museum’s board last year, protesting the management of director Jeffrey Deitch, a former New York gallery owner who joined the museum in 2010.

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