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NYC to LA: Jeffrey Deitch to Direct MOCA

Juxtapoz // Monday, 11 Jan 2010

In a statement issued by the museum, Deith, 57, said “MOCA has an extraordinary history, and it's my goal to position MOCA as the most innovative and influential contemporary art museum in the world. I am excited by the opportunity to play a role in making MOCA and Los Angeles the leading contemporary art destination.”

MOCA's written news release announcing Deitch's appointment includes a congratulatory statement from his new crosstown colleague, Michael Govan, director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art: “Jeffrey Deitch has been a very creative and visible force in the contemporary art world for decades. He has always had an interest in the not-for-profit aspect of his art activities. With both strong intellectual interests and pragmatic business and education expertise, he is a welcome addition to the growing art scene in Los Angeles.”

“Deitch is a jack-of-all-trades on the East Coast contemporary art scene, The Godfather of youthful creatives (Kehinde Wiley, Dash Snow, Tauba Auerbach, Ryan McGinness) with a background in corporate business sense (a Harvard MBA, founder of Citibank's art advisory practice, independent consultant for various well-heeled collectors),” writes Kelsey Keith on Gawker.

“He solidified his rep on the downtown arts scene in 1996 with the foundation of Deitch Projects, after running in circles with art world glitterati (Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel, Francesco Clemente) for twenty years. He is, as New York art critic Jerry Saltz noted, the "consummate insider with credibility and real-world skills," a player who knows how to make money from art.

“Why's this such a big deal? MOCA—which only survived complete financial meltdown in 2008 thanks to a $30 million infusion from financier Eli Broad—is making a high-profile gamble by appointing Deitch. No other major museum in the United States has tapped a gallery owner as its resident dictator, a position that traditionally relies on an academic tradition of patronage, politics, and presentation. Can someone so skilled in the market sector of the art world switch horses midstream and solicit donations? Can he be accountable to the needs of the board, museum staff, donors, and public at large? Can he helm an exhibition canon that makes art both accessible for the masses and transcendent to the cognoscenti?!”




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