Last week, in response to an announcement from the institution and a semi-public letter of resignation from its director Sandra Percival, I posted that New Langton Arts has found itself in “serious financial jeopardy.” A conversation followed in the comments box here, mourning Langton’s loss (perhaps prematurely), diagnosing its ailments and proposing potential cures—the very variety of responses speaking, at least in part, to certain gaps in our knowledge.
María del Carmen Carrión, a curator at Langton under Percival, posed to the board what were the most immediately relevant questions: “What do you imply when you ask us to help you secure NLA’s legacy? Are we talking about the institution itself and future programming? If so, of what sort? Are you asking for help to save the archive? To cover the current debt? Or are we trying to just pay respect to the legacy and propose a wake for what Langton once was?”
A response from the board this morning brings the situation into a bit more focus.
The New Langton Arts Board of Directors has been meeting around the clock to work through the critical issues and is in deep discussions about the future of the institution. In the interim, before decisions regarding what form the institution will take, NLA is vacating its gallery and theater space on Folsom Street and safeguarding its archive.
The board would like the community to know that all of the questions raised on Open Space are being considered at this time through board processes as well as through continuing conversations with the arts community. These questions cannot be answered immediately, but they will be answered.
The board acknowledges that the call for a public town hall meeting was premature. Rather than host the public meeting, the board determined that it first needed to address urgent funding and space issues and so considered a virtual forum to be an appropriate venue to host a conversation with the public. The SFMOMA blog has served, and continues to serve, as a platform for this.
Thank you for your continuing interest and commitment to Langton.
NLA Board of Directors
The dispossession of its premises on Folsom is obviously an enormous blow to the institution; practical matters, in particular the organization and preservation of Langton’s archive, have taken precedence over conversations about the institution’s longer-term survival. As the outlines of the calamity begin to come into view, though, the rest of us might try to assess what exactly has been lost, and to think, together, “What next?”