POST BY PADDY JOHNSON
The apocalypse has come! Jeffrey Deitch was appointed the new director of MoCA yesterday and will close his gallery. Facebook, Twitter and WordPress explode with chatter. I’ll be writing more on this tomorrow, but in the meantime — notes from a few others:
- Modern Art Notes has an informative three-part interview with Jeffrey Deitch (One, Two, Three). It’s an interesting read, though I’ll note Deitch says his gallery’s never partnered with anyone or had a backer, even though Sotheby’s auction house purchased 50% of the gallery in 1997 according to The Times. I assume that kind of relationship has a different name, as I can think of no reason to purposefully create such a discrepancy.
Deitch talks about the ethical concerns of owning a large private collection and having many pre-established professional relationships with artists, a plan of action to get the museum more funding, and engaging the broader audience the museum attracts. The take home point of the interview, however, is that the Art Parade will come to L.A. Woot?
- Roberta Smith chimes in at The Times. Amongst other things, she thinks Eli Broad, a donor who in 2008 kept the museum afloat by infusing it with 30 million dollars, potentially has too much power. (Her actual words were a little less directed than mine — she simply says he has an “unusual degree of control.”) Welcome to Canada: Ken Thompson’s gift to the AGO has meant a completely uneven approach to the museum’s curation and even its renovation. Update: As was pointed out in the comments, I should note that with this exception Smith reacts favorably to the appointment.
- “The notion that commercial art dealers are somehow too soiled to run the sorts of institutions that have long histories of smuggling objects across international borders, resisting returning Nazi-looted works, and using their prestige to inflate the value of the collections (and egos) of selected trustees is symptomatic of a wholly irrational romanticism (not to mention willful blindness) in the art world, in my opinion.” Hear hear! Thanks to Edward Winkleman who issues a rationed statement on conflict of interest concerns. I should note I still have different opinions about New Museum trustee members being given exhibitions. As James Westcott points out on my facebook page, it may be a difference of ingenuity and appropriateness fueling the split.
- Culturegrrl isn’t a fan of the new Deitch appointment. Amongst her questions are:
Will artists attached to rival dealers be welcomed as warmly at MOCA as those from Deitch’s chosen group? Will collectors who aren’t associated with Deitch-the-Dealer be loath to associate with Deitch-the-Director? Will those collectors who always expected something from Deitch for their money still expect a quid pro quo—that the works and artists in their collections will be first among equals?
These are reasonable questions, though I’m inclined to think the good Deitch will bring to MoCA will outweigh the complications brought by his previous life as a dealer. The biggest concerns I have in this move is how this will effect the New York gallery scene. How much business will be lost with his absence? Where will his artists go? And of course, who will run the Art Parade?