Museum to be haunted by ghosts of Chrismas’ past?
Today in the mail, I received a little save the date card from Ace Gallery. The cover read 10 month, 10 day, 10 year, the inside “ACE MUSEUM”…Unless I misunderstood something, I am taking this to mean that on October 10th of this year, Douglas Chrismas of Ace Gallery will be opening a museum to go along with his 2 existing galleries. There is no other information and since I am on the email list as well there was no press release sent yet, so I am not sure if this museum will be located in Los Angeles or somewhere else. I will go ahead and assume LA though.
Now, my first question is, how seriously should we be taking this? According to an article, The Ace is Wild, written in 2003 for the LA Weekly, Chrismas was working on an expansion of his Beverly Hills location to be designed by Frank Gehry. Now I haven’t driven by in at least a week, but last time I checked Ace Beverly Hills looked exactly the same with no construction seeming to be underway. Also, according to this same article, there have been too many lawsuits for me to keep straight and even a few mentions of declaring bankruptcy. I am not a lawyer, or a financial whiz by any means, but is it financially responsible for the government to give a 501(c)3 to a man/company that has such a troubled financial and legal past?
I can’t not mention this timing. Everyone is all over Jeffery Deitch for trying to transition from being a commercial art dealer to being a director of a museum, will Chrismas be the director? If he is not the director of the museum, then how is he associated, does he “own” it? What will happen to his galleries and their stock? If both spaces are to be complete separate entities, who are the curators and how can we be sure that these decisions will be ethically sound? Will he have a board of trustees to help keep everyone accountable? Does he have donors already lined up? Do they have a permanent collection to start up with? I understand that this is going to create “buzz” but I can’t be the only one who would like a little more information. Especially in LA with Deitch, and especially with his reputation.
Even though I have quite a few logistical questions (and this is just the tip of the iceberg) regarding this matter, I will say that Douglas Chrismas is a daring programmer and a brilliant curator. Everyone has a story about him, or a memory, of some show that no one thought was possible, with pieces that galleries weren’t even thinking they could show yet. There are no limits for him, no wall too high, no obstacle too difficult. Chrismas has been around this long for a reason, and I don’t see him going anywhere just yet, I just wonder how this will play out, in the media and in real life.