MOCA Board of Trustees Deny Support to North Miami's Museum Director Candidate

Categories: Art

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Photo by Ivon David Rojas
In this week's art feature, New Times interviewed Babacar M'Bow who has been appointed the new director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in North Miami by city officials.

MOCA is currently in the middle of a tug of war between the museum board and the city. The squabble revolves around who controls the museum's collection of 600 works by greats such as Louise Nevelson and Jose Bedia and whether those works will be relocated to Miami Beach's Bass Museum of Art.

See also: At MOCA North Miami, a Battle Over Race

The legal wrangling between MOCA's Board and the City of North Miami is currently under the charge of Circuit Court Judge Norma S. Lindsey, who has sent both parties to mediation.

But as the story went live online, a museum spokesperson contacted New Times to inform that its current board of trustees no longer considers M'Bow a candidate to run the museum, further ratcheting up the ongoing conflict between opposing factions.

"The Board of Trustees of the Museum of Contemporary Art has dismissed the City of North Miami's nomination for a new museum director," says Aaron Gordon, who has been hired to handle public relations for the embattled institution. "The Board provided the candidate, Mr. Babacar M'Bow, with a two-week window to participate in a standard background check, which is a required step in evaluating the credentials of candidates for the position. Despite multiple notifications, Mr. M'Bow did not comply with the background check and is therefore no longer under consideration for the position. The Board is disappointed that Mr. M'Bow chose not to take part in the evaluation process. Alex Gartenfeld continues to serve in his dual position as Interim Director and Chief Curator with the full support of the Board," adds Gordon.

M'Bow's response: "This is a kind of a last grasp of a dying narrative. I have never been interviewed by the Board. I have received a request by a lawyer for authorization to check my credit record to which I responded by asking the sender who s/he was. If the Board really wanted to engage this process, it could have just asked the city to provide the information (background, medical, drug and other tests) I submitted myself to prior to joining the city staff. Furthermore, how can a Board that is leaving our city still wants to retain the power to approve who the city is hiring?"

M'Bow says the public can expect the proceedings to become increasingly acrimonious as the judge approaches a final decision.

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Museum of Contemporary Art

770 NE 125th St., North Miami, FL

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5 comments
MuseumGo-er
MuseumGo-er

The museum board was choosing a forward thinking curator. Not everyone wants to remain in the stone-age. That's why the board was picking someone with connections to the contemporary art scene in New York for the CONTEMPORARY museum of NMB.

herbi1955
herbi1955

Interesting that the board did not require the same for Mr. Gartenfeld who has basically no background in managing a museum. He had "curated" a few art exhibitions out of his apartment before joining MOCA. He doesn't even have a PHD in Art History or any other related field.

This just once again makes it so very clear that Mrs Braman wants to dictate her own desires on the City and Museum. Shame on the board for allowing her to bully them into submission.

avonlates1
avonlates1

The response by the board is really puzzling. As a city employee Mr M'Bow had to go through the background check. All they had to do was to ask the city to send the results. It indicates that they had no intention of taking him seriously as a candidate.

herbi1955
herbi1955

@LucieCocoisDouce @avonlates1 The board stated they denied Dr. M'Bow the post as he did not comply with their request for a background check, which is rediculous considering the city already did one and the informatin is available to the board.

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