Pivoting Towards Opportunity

Martin Creed, Work No. 2210: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT, 2015 (installation view, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles, 2019). Multicolored Neon, 24 x 837 5/8 in (61
x 2127.5 cm). Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Mario de Lopez. © Martin Creed. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2020.

The talk of a three-week closure started in earnest in early March; but things changed quickly and two weeks later, moCa joined a host of area cultural venues in announcing we were closed until further notice. We cancelled programs we had lovingly curated and promoted. We announced that our annual gala, our largest fundraiser of the year, would be postponed. Facing a deficit, the difficult conversations regarding finances ensued.

As we landed in our home offices, “work from home” turned out to be a bit more complicated than the simple phrase implies. There were predictable space and technical issues. We also had to transform from serving visitors onsite to executing tasks in the virtual workspace.

It quickly became clear that staying relevant now, and in the future, would require more dedicated online engagement. moCa’s offerings have mostly centered around experiences in real space, often at our building. A pivot was in order, so we rolled up our sleeves and started to re-evaluate how we present ourselves on screens near and far. As of press time—which was just a few weeks from the frenetic dive into closure—we were still expanding our footing in the virtual world. So we soldier on, altering the way we work now—and in the future—with the goal of integrating how people will experience moCa from, well, anywhere. Hence while the situation is fraught, it’s also bubbling with opportunity.

The emotional component to the closure revealed itself in quiet but undeniable ways. Like our offerings, heretofore we’ve been an onsite team. That is not to say we took our shared space and live interactions for granted, but we never imagined it would all be ripped from us so suddenly. No one did. When it was, it prompted the classic feelings of grief and loss. Staffers created slack channels to fill the void, offering caring links, personal photos, and charming missives. But when we came together for our first online staff meeting, with all those familiar faces smiling from our screens, the relief was palpable. Just seeing each other was reassuring: a cloud lifted.

Normally, moCa’s exhibitions change three times a year, but for 2020, our summer season will be an extension of our winter offerings, including Temporary Spaces of Joy and Freedom and Margaret Kilgallen’s that’s where the beauty is. There will, however, be one new addition: a neon installation from Martin Creed will illuminate Gund Commons on our ground level. We think its message couldn’t be more appropriate.





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