On LACMA Killing Its Film Program [To Save It?]

Regular readers of greg.org know it, but I’ll say it upfront: I’m Team MoMA. I’ve supported the museum for years–I feel like I grew up in it, art-wise. And film-wise. Right now, MoMA’s film department and programming are stronger than I can ever remember. It feels absolutely vital, critical. And even when the old timers SHHH! people for breathing too loud in the theater, it’s great to see a movie there.
And yet the Bing theater at LACMA is even nicer. And yet, LACMA is suspending [i.e., killing] its film program. In Los Angeles. It’s just mindboggling. They have to be planning a complete, and somehow different reboot, a makeover of some kind for which Michael Govan’s only plausible path is going cold turkey.
Two home team analogies: MoMA’s Projects series, which lived for a very long time just off the lobby as a small gallery for anointing emerging artists, but which was eventually brought back to the Taniguchi building as a roving showcase for [basically] New York debuts by global artists. Generally speaking, it seems to be working.
The other is more directly film-related: the Modern caught a lot of flak for closing its film stills collection, squeezing out the longtime curator and librarian–who happened to be active in the employee’s union, and the whole thing went down around the time of the staff strike–and shipping the whole thing off to the film center in Pennsylvania. It was a controversial action, to say the least, but [film] life goes on. What the net impact is, nearly a decade later?
So yeah, I’m alarmed by Govan’s decision and by Kenneth Turan’s outrage over it. But I also have to hope that some kind of substantial film program will return, even if it’s new and different and takes a while. Because I can’t imagine otherwise.
LACMA slaps film in the face [latimes]