Carl Swanson catches up with Jeffrey Deitch as he prepares a new book, “a Deitch Projects retrospective, a meticulously curated history and part of a legacy-manicuring project that is Deitch’s Act Three.” Swanson also recaps the Deitch mythopoetics:
So, all that drew on what I learned at Harvard Business School, understanding economics and the theory of marketing. So, it really helped me to have an original take on art and its economic structure and the way the art market was a crucial part of the consensus of how artists present their work to the world and how they’re judged. I wrote up a business plan for a bank to start an art-market department, and I went to both Chase and Citibank, but in 1979, Citibank was the more dynamic bank. Walter Wriston was chairman of the bank, who went to Wesleyan, where I went to school. He was a legendary, visionary business leader. So, I decided to go to Citibank.” The slope-roofed new headquarters had just opened (“I just noticed there’s a Haring work that’s up for auction of a flying saucer zapping the Citicorp Center”), and Deitch got to go to Japan a lot, because Japan was buying a good deal of art with all the extra money from what became known after the fact as its real-estate “bubble economy.” He finally got to know Warhol through an advisory gig he had with something called the I Club in Hong Kong in 1982—“a similar idea as Area, but it was a heavy investment,” he says (meaning a reported $10,000 membership fees). Warhol had done a portrait show at the Whitney, “and I knew Andy loved going around, getting portrait commissions. So, I brought Andy Warhol to Hong Kong.
The Return of Jeffrey Deitch (NYMag)