Deitch Eyes SoCal Empire

LA MoCA is considering taking over the operation of Los Angeles’s Municipal Art Gallery:

MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch has toured the 10,000-square-foot gallery with curators on his staff, said Olga Garay, executive director of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs. She expects MOCA to submit a proposal to run the venerable gallery, which was established in 1951 and has occupied its current hilltop building near Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Hollyhock House since the early 1970s. It would give the museum a geographical steppingstone between its two downtown facilities and its Westside outpost at the Pacific Design Center. MOCA officials did not respond to a request for comment.Continue Reading

Checking in with Deitch

The New York Times’s Randy Kennedy hitched a ride on the Deitch Express as it barrels toward LA. Meanwhile, back in New York, there are still some loose ends that need tying:

The transition was made much more complicated by the kind of gallery Mr. Deitch ran. It had moneymakers on its roster but also a couple of garage bands’ worth of young artists whom Mr. Deitch supported, more as patron than dealer, with the considerable money he made brokering huge sales in the secondary market — a skill aided by his Harvard M.B.A.

“There are millions in advances that I’ve given to artists over the years,” he said, in exchange for promises that they would repay him if they became successful. Continue Reading

Deitch Goes Out in Style

Jeffrey Deitch’s last days as a gallerist before taking over as director of LA’s MoCA are turning into an eventful time. He bought some art at the sales last week–and this video has become a You Tube hit.

Art is Deitch's Asset

It’s a measure of the suspicion toward the art market that is held by so many in the art world that Jeffrey Deitch’s announcement that he plans to sell some of his gallery holdings to meet financial commitments from his business as a dealer is being treated as an admission that he plans to continue art dealing after taking his post as LA’s MoCA.

The LA Times’s Mike Boehm ran a story late last week that included Deitch’s explanation of why and how he would sell works.

Now, Deitch says he expects that when he starts at MOCA he will still have “a few hundred works” on his hands that currently belong to Deitch Projects and that he expects to fold them into his personal collection. He said he planned to go on selling some of those — under protocols previously worked out with MOCA’s board that apply when he sells pieces from his personal art holdings.Continue Reading

Who Is Deitch Good for?

Alexandra Peers thinks Jeffrey Deitch’s appointment is good for Sotheby’s:

Deitch didn’t just work there, he was a senior vice-president. In 1998, the auctioneer bought a half-interest in Deitch Projects and the right to act as the U.S. agent for artists he represented. So, though the deal was later unwound, Sotheby’s has both closer ties to Deitch and his artists than Christie’s. Why does that matter? Deitch will likely be selling some art as part of the process of separating from Deitch Projects, and may even sell some of MOCA’s. The museum has no history of deaccessioning work, but insiders at the museum and at auction houses say Deitch, as an ex-commercial gallerist, may be more likely to look to inventory (i.e., the permanent collection) to raise funds immediately.

A Deitch Conspiracy Theory a Day

Apologies for having overlooked this in a previous post on Christopher Knight’s Los Angeles Times story trying to unpack the meaning–and dangers–lurking within the appointment of Jeffrey Deitch as director of LA’s MoCA. For Knight, being an art dealer means admitting that you’re the spawn of Satan. Or so it would seem from these guesses about the board’s motives:

Virtually every planning move its new director makes will raise questions about its relationship to Deitch’s veiled commercial entanglements, which are long-standing and international in scope. For instance, one question already swirls: Is MOCA partly making a play for the blue-chip collection of Dakis Joannou, 69, the Greek construction magnate, hotelier and Coca-Cola franchiser?Continue Reading

LA MoCA Haven for Revolutionaries

Christopher Knight, the LA Times art critic, expresses a little contempt for the choice of Jeffrey Deitch as LA MoCA’s new director:

There is nothing wrong with a lively and robust art market, but Deitch’s commercial commitments are problematic for his new job. The problem is that the market represents a very narrow slice of a vast art-pie. Art commerce gets out-sized press because the public, although generally unfamiliar with and incurious about art, is familiar with and curious about money. In modern capitalism, art and popular culture intersect in the market.Continue Reading