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Arts

Jeffrey Deitch Leaving MOCA

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Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 11:16 PM

click to enlarge DEITCH
  • Deitch
Jeffrey Deitch, controversial director of MOCA, is parting ways with the contemporary art museum, a source with knowledge of the situation tells the Weekly.

We've been reaching out to MOCA officials since Friday night, but have not heard back. This is what our source says:

Deitch will be leaving by the end of the month.

Was he pushed out, or did he get fed up with being a lightning rod at an institution that became hipper under his watch -- but that also seemed to face increasing economic woes?

Not sure.

After talking to several MOCA insiders, we were also told the museum was planning to make an announcement Wednesday.

Former L.A. Weekly features editor Tom Christie (who's not our source) says that Deitch is apartment shopping in New York, from whence he came, and MOCA is shopping for a new director.

click to enlarge DEPICTION / ARTWORK OF JEFFREY DEITCH PHOTOGRAPHED BY LORD JIM / FLICKR.
  • Depiction / artwork of Jeffrey Deitch photographed by Lord Jim / Flickr.

Christie indicates that it's Deitch who said it's not you; it's me first by informing MOCA board members of his intentions Friday.

The director has a namesake gallery in New York (Deitch Projects) and was a rare gallery-to-museum hire for the big-city institution.

He immediately turned off some local art world luminaries after he arrived in early 2010. Four artists then on the MOCA board, including Ed Ruscha, resigned after the museum's chief curator, Paul Schimmel, was pushed out, allegedly by Deitch.

Deitch had his fans, however, and was responsible for a youth quake at the museum, including 2011's "Art in the Streets" graffiti art exhibition, which logged in a record number of visitors for the institution.

See also: Street Art at MOCA.

click to enlarge 'ART IN THE STREETS' VIA GREGORY BOJORQUEZ / MOCA.
  • 'Art in the Streets' via Gregory Bojorquez / MOCA.

But the museum's finances were bad enough in March that the rival L.A. County Museum of Art proposed taking it over.

MOCA's board, including some of the city's wealthiest art patrons and biggest Hollywood luminaries, said the institution should remain independent.

Detich had a rough ride in L.A. no matter how you slice it.

He told Vanity Fair this year that a lot of the controversy surrounding him "doesn't have anything to do with reality."

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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