Museums: Broken Harness

Whenever museum trustees and the director fall out, the art world braces for a struggle of mythological proportions. Almost inevitably, it is the embattled director who is seen as Jason; the trustees are billed as the golden fleecers. Too often such a storybook approach ignores not only the subtleties involved in any corporate relationship but also the stresses and strains produced in seeing a huge cultural enterprise through its birth pangs.

Such is the sad case in Los Angeles, where trustees of the new Los Angeles County Art Museum, open just eight months, voted unanimously to dismiss their director,...

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