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Jeffrey Deitch Leaving L.A. MOCA, Returning to New York (UPDATED)

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jeffrey-deitch-moca-outArt dealer-turned-museum director Jeffrey Deitch is on his way out at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles according to a source cited by the L.A. Weekly. Though the museum is expected to make an announcement on Wednesday, Deitch reportedly informed its board of his imminent departure on Friday, and has already begun looking for apartment in New York. It’s unclear whether he intends to relaunch his gallery, Deitch Projects.

UPDATE: Former L.A. Weekly editor Tom Christie, who is cited as a source (but not the source in the above-linked L.A. Weekly article), writes on Tumblr that Deitch is allegedly looking for a location on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to open a new gallery space. Deitch Projects was based primarily in Soho, where he kept two locations, though he also had a sprawling outpost in Long Island City, Queens.

Deitch’s tenure at MOCA was marked by extremes, with a new institutional attendance record set by the massive street art and graffiti retrospective “Art in the Streets,” but also a mass exodus punctuated by the departure of chief curator Paul Schimmel and all four artist boardmembers — Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari, Catherine Opie, and Barbara Kruger.

Under Deitch, MOCA also received — and then rejected — takeover and partnership proposals from institutions including LACMA and the National Gallery of Art. In a recent push to remedy its nearly depleted endowment, raising more than $60 million. The museum has allegedly begun its search for a new director.

— Benjamin Sutton

(Photo via.)

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  1. I had a feeling he’d wanna come back to The City.

    Sounds Great.

  2. by Ronald Walker

    Mr. Dietch has had an uber plan all along…create a gallery in NYC. Go to LA and make the artists he deals with in NYC famous by putting them in LA MOCA, leave the museum and go back to NY to represent these “so called” museum artists and line his coffers handsomely. The potential conflict of interest is so blatant and ASTOUNDING that needs serious examination. If there are/were no checks and balances between this man and LA MOCA the potential for collusion is immeasurable.

  3. Mr. Deitch’s dynamics will be a positive force to New York’s art environment. A warm welcome on your return back to the great city, Jeffrey.

  4. The politics behind the scenes must make the Housewives of Beverly Hills look downright civil. How anyone would want that job is beyond me.

  5. Can’t blame Jeffrey. Last summer’s anti-Dietch tirade was ugly and left a bitter taste in the mouths of many. I wish him well. Don’t know how MOCA will be able to recruit the talent necessary to pull them out of the fiscal and psychological hole they are in. Maybe time to have a honest conversation about the role of contemporary museums?

  6. Yes, New York, you can blame Jeffrey Deitch, who has been tone-deaf from day one about MOCA, its mission, its urgent needs, and its constituents. He has not given a rat’s ass about anybody but himself and his own self interests. The curatorial staff has been cut to two under his watch. The publications department has been decimated. The staff that has managed to hang on never knew from one moment to the next what was going on in the institution because he only communicated with the sycophants he brought with him from the Big Apple. Moreover, we who have great attachment to MOCA have been treated to idiocies like the current Urs Fischer installation, with its cancerous take-over of the Geffen by an extended “play-date” with clay. I say “good-bye and good riddance.”

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