In case you haven't heard, Jeffrey
Deitch was named the new Director of MOCA today
think Jerry Saltz had the best summation of the news
. Some will find it
odd that a former art dealer will cross the imaginary line between the dealer
and director worlds but frankly I think this is a very isolated incident (there
just aren't many Jeffrey Deitches out there). MOCA already has the best programming
of any major contemporary/modern art museum but what it needs is better support.
Deitch got the job because (on paper) he can deliver... maybe even redirect
a tiny bit of Hollywood's money away from the development of extremely stupid
films towards one of LA's most important cultural contributions. This "support"
has been LA's biggest cultural problem and recruiting a serious, very intelligent
ultra-insider like Deitch will only work if his fund raising efforts to "make
it rain" in LA are successful (just a little).
I now think this LAT's piece is actually the best summation of the choice
. Also, Tyler Green just published some his responses to the responses
... all valid points of course. This wait and see approach is important as Deitch has to prove himself as a steward of a public collection. But I think I see an interesting strategy with MOCA's decision; lets get somebody who will have to answer a lot of questions and at the same time have the kind of star/spectacle status that it takes to sell LA money on art. In short they needed a salesman or in this case a "pitch man"... a serious one at that and Deitch does have pitch skills that the academic/nonprofit worlds seldom cultivate. It's either going to be a very good move or Deitch will feel stymied.
Can a smart salesman sell LA on art without dumbing it down? Well if anyone can it is Deitch but if he can't this will be a brave isolated experiment. After the Koons incident at the New Museum I doubt Deitch will play that card, besides he isnt being hired as a curator.
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