Museum Moves: Paul Schimmel Out at LA MOCA; New Hires at Japan Society, UT’s Ransom Center

Footage of Cai Guo-Qiang’s “Mystery Circle: Explosion Event for The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.” An exhibition of Cai’s work is on view through July 30 at MOCA.

• The divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes is not the only L.A. break-up making headlines and raising eyebrows this summer Friday. Paul Schimmel, chief curator at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, has left the institution after 22 years. It’s not clear whether he resigned or was ousted, but according to a statement issued this evening by MOCA announcing Schimmel’s departure, the exhibition space at the Geffen Contemporary will be named in his honor.

• Back in New York, Miwako Tezuka will take over directorship of Japan Society’s gallery from Joe Earle, whose retirement is effective September 30. Formerly an associate curator at Asia Society, Tezuka will be the first Japanese director of Japan Society Gallery. She begins her new position on Monday.

• The University of Texas at Austin’s Harry Ransom Center has named Jessica S. McDonald, a curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as its new chief curator of photography. She starts in September.

• SFMOMA recently welcomed Katie Tamony, formerly editor-in-chief at Sunset, as the museum’s new director of marketing and communications. She’ll helm SFMOMA’s public relations, marketing, visitor experience, and audience engagement efforts as the countdown begins to the Snøhetta-designed building expansion that is expected to open in 2016.

• Despite the chaos-cum-leadership crisis at the University of Virginia, one thing is for sure: the institution’s museum has been renamed the Fralin Museum of Art in honor of Cynthia and W. Heywood Fralin. The couple recently announced their intention to donate their collection of American art to the University of Virginia Art Museum. The 40-piece collection, which includes works by John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, and Robert Henri, is the largest single gift of art in the university’s history. Fundraising continues for a new 20,000-square-foot, five-level addition to the museum building. The addition will increase exhibition space by 64 percent and nearly double the programming space, including a dedicated education resource room, two signature galleries, and a meeting space for seminars and classes.