LACMA Lays Off Veteran Staffers Including Heads of Design and Publications

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It was apparently housecleaning time this week at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The LA Times reports that the museum has let go “several veteran department heads,” seven in total. Director Michael Govan told the paper that the move was “not a financial belt-tightening” but was instead a method of “shifting some priorities” and “adapt to technology-driven change.” In English, that means that they let go a number of people involved with making things that weren’t going online, namely the editor of their catalogs and publications, Thomas Frick, their VP of communications and marketing, and their head of design, Amy McFarland. Each will be replaced by current employees whose roles and titles will be expanded. What’s more, the paper reports that Govan has announced that not only are they now not planning to replace Melody Kanschat, who left her role as president of the LACMA at the start of the year, but will be eliminating the position of museum president entirely. Here’s a bit more from the Times:

Among the changes that influenced his thinking, Govan said, were the advent of social media and shifts in the publishing industry that are leading LACMA to place more of its catalogues and publications online. Last year, LACMA established a “Reading Room” on its website so the public can access art books the museum has issued. “It’s an interesting moment for museum publishing,” Govan said. “Traditional middle-cost books are not doing well, and we’re beginning to shift to e-books, although we’re not doing away with paper yet.” He said LACMA is readying the first e-book version of one of its exhibition catalogs, for last year’s show “Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700-1915.”