Deitch to Depart LA's Museum of Contemporary Art

LA MOCA's Jeffrey Deitch
LA MOCA's Jeffrey Deitch
(mass appeal)

Jeffrey Deitch, the former New York art dealer, is expected to resign from his position as director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, according to reports. He leaves the museum with improving finances, but with staff and curatorial programs in flux.

After joining the museum in 2010, Deitch set about to bring the institution back from a near financial collapse. A merger with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art had been discussed. He has helped deliver more than $75 million in pledged donations through board members who aim to raise $100 million.

One of his first exhibitions, a focus on actor Dennis Hopper's art, was not well-received, but a street art survey brought in 200,000 visitors, a record for the museum.

However, Deitch's curatorial vision did not match up with Paul Schimmel, the museum’s longtime chief curator. Schimmel left his post, causing an exodus of artists from the museum's board, including John Baldessari, Catherine Opie, Barbara Kruger and Ed Ruscha.

Deitch's departure, first reported by LA Weekly, comes three years into a five-year contract.

The museum's board is expected to meet Wednesday to form a search committee. Currently, the museum has only two full-time curators.

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