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After employees announced their intention to unionize, prompting a brief closure and demonstrations by ex-employees, the Marciano Art Foundation is shutting its doors for good.
Paul and Maurice Marciano, the art nonprofit’s co-founders, announced the permanent closure of the foundation Friday afternoon. By that time, the website for the foundation was discontinued.
“We are grateful to the public and the art community for their enthusiastic support of this ambitious project and all that we have accomplished during the past two and a half years,” a press release from the brothers, who also co-founded Guess Jeans, stated. “It was truly fulfilling to see thousands of visitors enjoy the exhibitions we had the good fortune of putting together with such inspiring artists.”
The release added that the Marciano brothers will continue to support artists and curators; Maurice continues to serve on the board of trustees at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
The foundation, which was set in the historic Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on Wilshire Blvd. in the Hancock Park neighborhood, closed briefly following a labor snafu with visitors services employees in early November. The employees were given notice of their termination days after they announced their intention to unionize with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 36, which also represents some employees at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The National Labor Relations Board began investigating the foundation after the layoffs; the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 deems it illegal for employers “to dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any labor organization or contribute financial or other support to it.”
Employees at the Guggenheim, the Met, the Tenement Museum and, most recently, L.A.’s MOCA have begun organizing in recent months.
Seventy employees were laid off from the Marciano Art Foundation following the announcement that they were unionizing. “This is a gross obstruction of workers’ rights,” the MAF Union said in an Instagram post at the time. In the weeks following their termination, ex-employees organized a series of colorful demonstrations against the layoffs including a strike in front of the building on Wilshire Blvd., a projection on the wall of the museum and demonstrations at Guess Jeans stores.
During its two-and-a-half-year run, the Marciano Art Foundation exhibited works from Ai Weiwei, Glenn Ligon, Olafur Eliasson and Ed Ruscha and operated on an appointment-only model for visitors.
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