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Stay West, Young Museum Director

LACMA chief says nyet, Met.

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Michael Govan, director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in town last week to oversee the transportation of a huge Richard Serra sculpture from MoMA to his museum, quashed the persistent art-world rumor that he’s a top contender to succeed Philippe de Montebello at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “There’s no basis to it,” says Govan, who moved to L.A. in 2006 after twelve years of running the Dia Art Foundation. He’s committed to guiding lacma’s $156-million-plus renovation and expansion at least through 2010, he says. “Why would I leave? This is the most exciting project going on.” The Met has “one of the most amazing collections on Earth,” he adds, but it was set up with a Eurocentric “eighteenth-century model.” Govan’s dis is good news for the other Met candidates, including Gary Tinterow, the museum’s curator for nineteenth-century and modern art; Neil MacGregor, head of the British Museum; and MoMA’s Glenn Lowry, even after the Times broke news of his once-secret million-dollar perks package earlier this year. De Montebello is 71 but has not yet announced any retirement plans.

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