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Jeffrey Deitch on to another art adventure at MOCA

January 18, 2010 |  9:51 pm

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Jeffrey Deitch has drawn comparisons to P.T. Barnum and Andy Warhol during his 30-year stint as a New York art dealer and provocateur. There was, for example, the show in which a Ukrainian-born artist lived like a dog for a few days in his gallery. And the one that re-created an urban street, complete with check-cashing stores and overturned trucks. And another that crammed 2,000 shredded phone books into his SoHo exhibition space.

Now he's been named to run L.A.'s renowned Museum of Contemporary Art.

"The spectacles, well, people remember them," Deitch, 57, acknowledged to our colleague Geraldine Baum for a profile in today's Times. "But I don't want to give an impression that's all I did in New York." 

He noted that many of the 300 shows and public events he has mounted were museum-quality, such as a retrospective of painter Francesco Clemente and a 1992 "Post Human" show.

Although there are skeptics who wonder how a profit-minded gallery owner can run a not-for-profit museum, Dan Colen isn't one of them. A painter and sculptor who helped create the 2006 phone-book installation, he says about Deitch: "There's no gallerist like him. He can do anything.... Jeffrey is a good businessman and he really gets the art."

Read Baum's full profile of the new MOCA boss here.

-- Lee Margulies

Photo credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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