Deitch to take over MOCA

The New York gallerist will head to Los Angeles this spring to lead the museum

Ending a week of speculation, New York contemporary dealer Jeffrey Deitch has been named as the next director of Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). The board today announced that it has unanimously voted to appoint Deitch to the post, which he takes up 1 June.

While some have questioned the museum’s choice in selecting a commercial gallery owner to lead the non-profit institution instead of appointing someone from the ranks of museum curators and directors, MOCA highlights Deitch’s past curatorial achievements. These include “Lives”, a 1975 exhibition about artists who used their own lives as an art medium, a large number of contemporary art shows for Greek collector Dakis Joannou’s Deste Foundation in Athens, and “Form Follows Fiction” at the Castello di Rivoli in Torino, Italy in 2001. “Jeffrey Deitch is the perfect fit for MOCA New, and he has the vision and energy to make the museum the world’s preeminent contemporary arts institution,” said Board Co-Chair Maria Bell and co-chair of the Board’s search committee in a press statement. “Jeffrey lives, eats, sleeps, and breathes art. He is passionate about contemporary art and is committed to the future of MOCA.”

Deitch takes over from Charles Young, who was named MOCA chief executive officer in December 2008 following the resignation of director Jeremy Strick. Over the past year, the institution has struggled to regain financial stability after revealing that its endowment had been depleted from $38 million in 2000 to about $7 million by late 2008 to cover operating deficits. Since then, the museum has appointed 10 new trustees, including major collectors Peter Brant, Steven Mnuchin and Victor Pinchuk, celebrated it's 30th Anniversary with a gala party and massive exhibition of its collection and raised a total to $64 million in funding.

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