The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles announced the launch of its online exhibition archive, providing extensive information and images from all MOCA exhibitions dating from 1983 to 2004. The archive, which is searchable by keyword or date and fully accessible to the general public at moca.org/archive, provides an invaluable resource to students, scholars, and aficionados of contemporary art. The project was made possible by a generous grant from the Getty Foundation's Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980 funding initiative (previously known as the On the Record funding initiative)-developed specifically to help Southern California arts institutions arrange and describe their archival materials and make them available to researchers. The $280,000 grant was awarded to MOCA in 2005.
"The online exhibition archive reflects MOCA's achievements, documenting more than 20 years of groundbreaking work done by this institution," said MOCA Chief Curator Paul Schimmel. "Our critically acclaimed exhibitions have presented significant works from California, the United States, and the international scene-in the process capturing the history of this time and this region. The archive gives an in-depth view of how these exhibitions were made, providing a rich resource for scholars, artists, and the general public."
MOCA's online exhibition archive is notable for its user-friendly, image-driven interface, which was custom-designed by MOCA staff. Each exhibition entry features a brief description of the exhibition, installation images where available, and a container list of available text documents associated with the show. These include project descriptions; exhibition checklists; correspondence with artists, lenders, co- organizers, and participating venues; curators' notes; budget and funding proposals; loan agreements; installation designs; catalogue production material; printed ephemera; press releases and media coverage; and information on education programs. While the images are accessible through the website as low-resolution jpegs, qualified researchers must contact MOCA's library to gain access to exhibition documents and higher-resolution images.
The online exhibition archive includes material dating back to the museum's first-ever curatorial endeavor: Echange Entre Artistes, 1931-1982, Pologne-USA: Une Experience Museographique, a Polish-American art exchange initiated by MOCA Founding Director Pontus Hulten and organized by Lyn Kienholz. This exhibition, which resulted in significant acquisitions by the two participating museums, was shown at the Musee National d'Art Moderne Paris (ARC) from June 25 to September 6, 1983. The archive continues through The Royal Art Lodge: Ask the Dust, the first international touring exhibition of the Winnipeg-based artist collective, organized by Michael Darling and held at MOCA Pacific Design Center from November 14, 2004 to February 14, 2005. Subsequent exhibition records will continue to be added on an ongoing basis. The archive also includes documentation on exhibitions that were conceived and planned, but never realized.
Of particular note, the exhibition archive contains the files for large thematic and landmark single-artist retrospective shows for which MOCA is internationally regarded. Among those with extensive available materials are Automobile and Culture (1984); A Forest of Signs: Art in the Crisis of Representation (1989); Blueprints for Modern Living: History and Legacy of the Case Study Houses (1989); Helter Skelter: L.A. Art in the 1990s (1992); Hall of Mirrors: Art and Film Since 1945 (1996); Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object, 1949-1979 (1998); and At the End of the Century: One Hundred Years of Architecture (2000). The archive also includes documentation of live performances, radio programs, film series, and permanent collection exhibitions.
As announced by the Getty Foundation at the end of October 2008, MOCA will also be receiving significant support under the second phase of the Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980 grant initiative, which is providing research and planning grants to Southern California institutions to develop a region-wide series of exhibitions scheduled to open between September 2011 and June 2012. This unprecedented collaborative project will present a multifaceted look at various aspects of the post-World War II Los Angeles art scene. MOCA's contribution, organized by Chief Curator Paul Schimmel, will be Pluralism in the Postmodern Era: California Culture, 1969-1980. This comprehensive, multimedia exhibition of works by over120 California artists attests to the enormous diversity of artistic practices that emerged on the West Coast during this decade.