Maria Bell Chairing The National Arts Awards, Dealing With MoCA Shake-up

Ousted THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS executive producer and head writer will be chairing the National Arts Awards, taking place October 15 in New York. The list of honorees includes Microsoft's Paul Allen, stage actor Brian Stokes Mitchell, artist James Rosenquist, singer Josh Groban and arts patron Lin Arison.

Bell is a board co-chair of the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A. which, like Y&R, is going through a shake-up this month. Three of four artists on the museum's board of trustees have now resigned. The Los Angeles Times says the action is a warning as much as a protest. It shows how trustees critically important to MOCA's future are being marginalized.

Here's an except of the resignation letter artists Catherine Opie and Barbara Kruger sent to co-chairs Bell and David Johnson:

We do know that a major rethinking of the mechanisms and templates for cultural funding is long overdue. Parties and galas are ok, but sometimes these things called “museums” have to have things called “exhibitions.” Our concerns are with the art, the exhibitions, and how the money that makes the exhibitions possible is gathered and distributed. Our concern is for a continued curatorial practice that is both rigorously complex and pleasurably awesome. Our concern is for a kind of transparency that allows for a Board of Trustees that is not surprised when bad things happen. And when they do, to face them with clarity, candor and intelligence. This requires honest and shared communication involving all the Board Members, not just a select few.

Bell and Johnson issued a statement on Friday, July 16, after artist John Baldessari’s resignation from the board, saying, “There is a paradigm shift happening today, and both art and its audience are changing.”

It has been a busy month for Maria Bell.

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