Los Angeles is a city of art museums. There is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Museum of Latin American Art (MOLA), the Getty, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the last of which specializes in art produced after 1940. Their website directly states that:
“We are contemporary.
We question and adapt to the changing definitions of art.
We are a museum.
We present, collect, and interpret the art of our time.
We care for the experience of art, the inevitability of change, the multiplicity of perspectives, the urgency of contemporary expression.”
Their mission statement paralleled the meaning Los Angeles held for the protagonist Arturo Bandini in John Fante’s Ask the Dust. Bandini ran to Los Angeles as an aspiring writer, an artist of his time; however, he was not a “true,” established artist. He was blooming and struggling to make it, to produce something worthwhile in the West at a time when true art was only produced by classically trained artists on the East Coast. By the end of the novel, Bandini produced a novel worthy of publication. Similarly, the Museum of Contemporary Art gives current artists an opportunity to have their work displayed, work that does not fit the classic definition of art. Just like Bandini’s Los Angeles, MOCA makes Los Angeles a place of opportunity for the up-and-coming, a place that offers artists the opportunity to take risks, to break new ground in their field, and to challenge the norms and preconceived notions of what qualifies as art in today’s world.