The "Klaus effect" is as real as the oppressive summer heat. By now we are imagining hordes of people connected to the local art scene practicing in private how to pronounce his last name: Biensenbach, Biesenbach, Biesenbach. Don’t worry, saying it three times will neither summon him nor drive him away. You will still be hot, and NOTHING will happen to your art career, so you can chill.
What are we talking about? Here is a piece about it.
Yes, our hearts also sank at the announcement of Klaus Biesenbach as the new Director of MOCA. Listen, there are things we like about Klaus: his anti-trump memes, his rainbow hair during the last NYC Pride, and his onanistic daily photos of NYC through his office window. He's like our favorite uncle and we expect from him something along those lines when he moves to die Stadt der Engel (German for city of angels, and you better start practicing that). We’re happy for Klaus: he’ll be able to take so many selfies with the stars now.
Anyhow, we could add our dismay to the thousands feeling that MOCA missed a chance to appoint its first female director in its history, or for again having to go pool from the NYC art bowl to find the right art plumber to unclog the hairballs left after the last chief curator at MOCA was fired. Take a read here.
To add insult to injury, we have been tortured this past week with an array of “listicles”, as Jerry Saltz calls them: “articles” listing the things Klaus should do in LA, or shouldn’t do, or who he should be replaced with when the leaves NYC. Please.
But what if instead of loathing the “Klaus effect” we forget about Klaus for an LA minute? The last best show we saw at MOCA was Kerry James Marshall retrospective. What a powerful show! Everyone living under a rock or a bridge in LA making art went wild over it. It was a show that changed lives. And Helen Molesworth curated it. And how about Helen and Noah? Helen and Noah Davis were friends. He asked for her help and she helped him: the Underground Museum is their creative child.
Oh, Helen. Let’s about about Helen. Helen was the chief curator at MOCA, she was outspoken about the lack of diversity in museums and something needed to change, and her actions matched her words. And then, she was fired, allegedly for undermining MOCA. Thin skin much? To us the appointment of Klaus vindicates her opinions and beliefs.
There is still so much gossip and drama around Helen’s firing, but to us she represented the MOCA at its best: without celebrities sleeping in glass boxes, or celebrities sitting across a table, or shows about celebrities clothes.
Helen Molesworth was our MOCA hero. And the good news we want to focus on right now is not the next chapter at MOCA, which we assume is going to have a lot of James Franco in it. It’s the last show at MOCA curated by Helen scheduled to open this October: One Day at a Time, Manny Farber and Termite Art.
Let’s forget about Klaus. We're going to properly say goodbye to Helen by going to see the show she curated before she was given the boot.