This morning, Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art was expected to announce its new director, but when rumors about who would get the job started spreading (via Jerry Saltz no less) following an LA Times piece over the weekend, the announcement was postponed. Now, the art world is abuzz with anticipation, as the man at the center of the rumors, Jeffrey Deitch (pictured), founder of the influential Soho gallery Deitch Projects, represents a radical shift from conventional museum policies.
Normally, important positions at major museums are given to people already working in administrative roles at non-profit art institutions, so the (rumored) decision to go with the dealer behind a very high-profile commercial gallery is quite shocking and unprecedented. And yet, for a museum that’s been riddled with funding problems, programming cuts and issues with staff leaving en masse over the last couple of years, the idea of hiring a big money-maker seems like actually a very safe bet. And as far as major gallery owners go, Deitch, with his small army of artists and three major locations, is one of only a few commercial art figures who could step into this kind of position. The other two potential hires are Lisa Phillips of the New Museum and Lars Nittve, formerly of the Tate Modern. The announcement has yet to be re-scheduled.
Update: It’s official, Jeffrey Deitch will be LA MOCA’s new director.