7.30.2009

I'm still big, it's the pictures that got nonexistent

I don't know why this peeves me so:

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced yesterday that after four decades, they were ending their much-loved weekend film series, but hopes to reassure fans and patrons that they aren't abandoning film altogether, reports the LA Times.
LACMA's screenings--though many heavily attended and often involving discussions including actors, directors, and other personnel--have cost the museum millions, specifically "$1 million in losses over the last 10 years." Despite LA being an industry town, LACMA also noted "diminishing audiences," and, as a part of their overall strategy of reduction, decided, in the words of the museum's director, Michael Govan, "to stem [their] losses."
Well, let me count the ways:

1. They haven't lost millions. They've lost a million. Over 10 years. That's like a hundred thousand a year.
2. Even so, I wasn't aware that things in an Art Museum had to pay their own way. I thought the idea of an art museum was to preserve, and to continue the conversation about, the things we need to have. But it turns out an art museum is more like a television network. Is that why there's so much Jeff Koons in the new building?
3. It's also, as Mrs. D pointed out, unfair to accuse it of being unpopular if you've never done anything to make it be popular. LACMA gave zero promotion to its film series. It was never on one of the colorful banners on the front of the building. It was never even on a poster inside the building. It's actually hard to figure out where the Bing Theater even is. It's sort of like accusing your kid of not being a fast runner while forcing him to race in dress shoes.

UPDATE: Good pissed-off rant here.

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