LACMA: WTF?!

by Tony Nigro

In Los Angeles and the greater cinephile realm abroad, kvetching has ensued over Los Angeles County Museum Art’s announcement about closing its 40-year-old film series.  LACMA offers its own discussion forum, and there’s a petition and a Facebook group dedicated to saving the program, but perhaps KCRW art critic Edward Goldman said it best when he lambasted the museum for its decision:

The museum’s reasoning is that funds are scarce and audiences are dwindling, an explanation that would fly if we weren’t talking, for heaven’s sake, about the City of Angels, the film capital of the whole damn world!

And then this zinger:

It’s disingenuous for the museum to blame the audience for the demise of its film program; it feels as if LACMA has lost its passion and conviction for the art form which is the core identity of this city. After spending more than a million dollars on a visibility study for the gigantic sculpture of a suspended train by Jeff Koons, supposedly a new symbol of civic pride for LA, the museum seems to be in the process of cutting off its nose to spite its face by killing its venerated film series.

L.A. has  a shaky enough reputation when it comes to serious art, and in terms of showcasing its best known export is leagues behind New York City and Paris.  And then there’s always the bigger question: What is a county museum for, if not to fight for the preservation of local culture?  I’d say all the kvetching is justified.

Recent news points toward big money donors stepping up, but the fight isn’t over yet.  Even if you aren’t in the Los Angeles area, please make yourself heard by signing the petition to help save LACMA’s film series.

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