Like most everyone else, I've been reading about the situation involving Mass MoCA and Christoph Büchel, pausing only long enough to periodically scrape my chin off the floor. Geoff Edgers has a post with links to the Globe's story and other coverage, plus there's yesterday's Times article and commentary from Culturegrrl. Like she says, it's a mess, and I can't imagine how those involved must feel. That said, there really isn't much for me to say until the picture becomes clearer. With basic facts in dispute, it's hard to come to any conclusion more concrete than someone is acting in bad faith. This, from Richard Lacayo, is clever
Buchel says that MASS MoCA mismanaged the whole project and spent more than necessary on some of the elements, like the house. He also issued a list of demands to the museum last winter with a classic statement: "The artist demands full autonomy with regard to his artwork."
Well, for that to happen, sometimes the artist has to come equipped with is own checkbook. Just ask Diego Rivera.
But it doesn't really help one evaluate which party failed to fulfill their proper responsibilities to the other. The forum in which that question would be most conclusively tested, the courtroom, unfortunately seems to be where the museum and the artist are headed. I hoped, and hope still, that outcome could be avoided, and perhaps it will, but the situation as it stands seems an untenable one. The lesson, I guess, is always get a contract. A good one.