Jeffrey Deitch & Walter Hopps: Stranger Than Fiction

“It is somewhat unusual, but remember Walter Hopps went from Ferus Gallery to the de Menil collection.”Eli Broad

Hopps: Born 1932, raised in Los Angeles.
Deitch: Born 1952, raised in Hartford, Connecticut.

Hopps: Studied at Harvard (no degree).
Deitch: Studied at Harvard (MBA).

Hopps: Partnered with artist Ed Kienholz in founding the Ferus Gallery, which went bust.
Deitch: Partnered with Jeff Koons on the “Celebration” series, ending up millions in debt.

Hopps: Did 1962 show of pop art, “New Paintings of Common Objects,” in Pasadena and Warhol show in Houston (both blasted as banal and commercial).
Deitch: Appropriated Warhol’s banal commercial logo.

Hopps: At age 31, was first art dealer to head a major museum (Pasadena Art Museum, then L.A.’s principal venue for contemporary art).
Deitch: At age 58, was second dealer turned major museum director (MOCA).

Hopps: Commissioned Renzo Piano’s best museum building (the Menil Collection).
Deitch: Hired by Eli Broad, who commissioned Piano’s worst museum building (BCAM).

Hopps: Arranged for Marcel Duchamp to play chess with a nude woman (Pasadena, 1963).
Deitch: Got Kanye West to drop in on a Vanessa Beecroft performance with 22 nude models (Long Island City, 2009).

Hopps: Did 2003 James Rosenquist show for the Guggenheim.
Deitch: “Jim’s a friend.”

Hopps: “a gonzo museum director — elusive, unpredictable, outlandish” (Washington Post, 2005).
Deitch: “a controversial appointment”… “the enfant terrible of the New York gallery scene”… “a quirky figure,” etc., etc. (Brand X, Gothamist, and Cityfile New York).

Hopps: Mounted first museum retrospectives of Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, and Joseph Cornell.
Deitch: Big on James Franco and Kehinde Wiley.

Hopps: Died in Los Angeles.
Deitch: Probably not.

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