It looks like the sacrosanct wall between museums, galleries, and private collectors in the art world is about to come down. In what is a game-changer and a hail-Mary pass that will likely be fretted about by many, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art appears ready to name New York art dealer Jeffrey Deitch its new director, according to multiple art world sources. An official announcement will be made on Monday morning (update: MOCA has confirmed that Deitch will be the new director); reached via email, Deitch admitted he was in “discussion” with MOCA.

American museums usually pick directors from the curatorial or academic ranks; none have ever been run by a former gallery owner. Scolds will imagine immoral scenarios of a wolf in the fold and tut-tut over the possibility of an uncouth, craven commercial dealer trading museum treasures for market-share, making back room deals, and violating ethics. But bear in mind that MOCA desperately needs to think outside the box (as do many more museums). After mounting numerous memorable exhibitions over the decades, the museum was woefully mismanaged by its board and under-funded by the notoriously stingy Hollywood community. In 2008, it almost went under.


Jerry Saltz
New York Magazine