Sometime on Friday, Jeffrey Deitch decided to take the job of director of LA’s MoCA. The announcement is set for Monday but that hasn’t stopped the assessments from coming out today.
New York‘s Jerry Saltz points out that no gallery owner has ever been made the head of a museum before and the mingling of the commercial with the academic worlds will be an affront to many. Saltz cautions that the caterwauling would be a simplistic reading of the situation. LA’s MoCA, Saltz points out, needs a dramatic move in a new direction:
Hiring Deitch wouldn’t be like handing over the reins to the head of an auction house or to mega-shaker Larry Gagosian — although Gagosian’s shows of late have been better than most museums. Deitch, a gadfly and jack-of-all-trades, is a consummate insider with credibility and real-world skills. He not only has a Harvard MBA and was a Vice President of Citibank, he’s a great writer, a seasoned curator, has advised international collectors, and knows the inner workings of art and money, artists and collectors, institutions and the public. Really, the iffiest thing about Deitch has been his gallery program, loaded as it often is with youth-culture attractions, gratuitous raciness, and snazzy production numbers. (The question of what would happen to Deitch Projects if he takes the MoCA job is an interesting one.)
If Saltz thinks Deitch will cause a stir, imagine if they’d convinced Tobias Meyer to take the job.