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MOCA to retain about 70 percent of artworks

A shot from "Third Space: Inventing the Possible" exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. It was the first for the museum while under the direction of Babacar M’Bow.
A shot from "Third Space: Inventing the Possible" exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami. It was the first for the museum while under the direction of Babacar M’Bow. FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

About 500 of the 709 works held by the Museum of Contemporary Art’s previous incarnation will stay with MOCA, while 205 will go to the new Institute of Contemporary Art created by its former board members, according to an agreement that will go before the North Miami City Council at its Tuesday meeting.

According to the terms of the agreement, two works by Afro-Caribbean-influenced artist Jose Bedia will stay with MOCA, while two by pop artist John Baldessari will go to ICA. All 20 works by Miami-based Pablo Cano and two by the late street artist Keith Haring will stay with MOCA, while two works by Ana Mendieta and one by British artist Tracey Emin — who solo show was an Art Basel highlight in 2013 — will go to ICA.

Multiple works by artists including Daniel Arsham, Bhakti Baxter, William Cordova, Lynne Golob Gelfman, Mark Handforth, Gabriel Orozco, Ed Ruscha and Robert Rauschenberg will be split between the two institutions, according to the agreement.

However, if MOCA requires any specific pieces to keep its accreditation with the American Alliance of Museums, those works will be given back or the sides can return to litigation.

Disposition of the collection’s works had been a major sticking point between the two entities since the former MOCA trustees board announced in August it would create ICA after having filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the city last spring. Tensions between the trustees and the city first flared in December 2013, when news broke that the museum board was in talks to move the collection to the Bass Museum of Art in Miami. A settlement was announced Nov.12, but details were not released.

According to settlement documents released Monday as part of the City Council agenda:

  • The two sides will split the cost of inventorying and inspecting the collection and moving the pieces to the respective museums.
  • The former board will pay about $27,500 to the city for various furniture, fixtures and equipment taken by the former board to the ICA’s temporary site in the Design District.
  • Payments of remaining invoices and account payments to outside vendors will be taken care of by both sides. The amount for those invoices and accounts payable totals more than $65,000 and includes security service, insurance and storage services.

North Miami will also keep about $1million in grant funds and the rights to the “MOCA” name and the nonprofit organization Moca Inc. The former board will retain about $424,000 in grant funds.

The agreement specifies that the former board will retain the rights to the membership programs it developed and intellectual property rights over photos of the former board members and their key donors. MOCA will retain rights to the MOCA logo, the Web address mocanomi.org and the program “Women on the Rise!”

“This settlement provides us with an opportunity to understand that in Miami there is a collective will to live together in the art world,” MOCA director Babacar M’Bow said. “I support ICA, I support other institutions.” Representatives of the Institute of Contemporary Art could not be reached for comment by press time.

The City Council will also vote to approve a new 15-member board of trustees and formalize the resignation of the former board. The board is comprised of members of a “steering committee” that was created in September and includes lobbyist Ron Book, developer Richard LeFrak and Karen Mills-Francis star of the syndicated TV show Judge Karen, along with other developers, doctors and attorneys.

“Now is the time to bring in our new board that we have worked on for months,” M’Bow said. “They have taken over the organization of our Art Basel programs and they do extraordinary work.”

Council members will also consider a resolution granting a $500,000 loan to MOCA to support museum operations. The museum would be required to pay back the interest-free loan over the next two years. The city initially proposed about $250,000 for MOCA building operations and about $197,000 for museum specialized services.

If you go

What: North Miami City Council meeting

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: North Miami City Hall, 776 NE 125th St.

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