Jeffrey Deitch Goes Bicoastal
By Heidi Lee | Oct. 1, 2010
In the 1950s James Rorimer, the former director of the MET warned a fellow colleague, “If you become an art dealer, you’ll never be able to work in a museum.” Per his usual, Jeffrey Deitch is going against conventional wisdom once again. After the tearful closing of his renowned downtown SoHo gallery, he gave up his long successful career in art dealing this summer to head the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. But it may be more than he bargained for.
Hollywood has a way of swallowing people up and turning them into entertainment industry junkies. How many times have you heard friends say after a visit to Lala land that they think everyone who lives there is single-minded about the acting world? The art world is no exception and our celebrity obsessed society may end up distracting their newest implant. Everyone knows that money’s first cousins are power and fame and Hollywood is just the right location for Deitch to add a new patina to his dealer status to become the “celebrity dealer”.
New Yorkers may still be suffering from postpartum depression from the loss of Deitch Projects but I am certain the world will continue to see more of Jeffrey, on and off the big-screen. Producers have already knocked on his door and he has happily opened it. He is starring in General Hospital with ingenue James Franco. They are even filming at LA MOCA, Deitch’s new home away from home. On a recent panel Deitch said he believed that showbiz and art are one direction influencing the other. The artificiality of movie sets and mannequins are still there in LA’s root and artists are taking cues from that. Artists like Charles Ray was deeply influenced by LA for example as were Cindy Sherman and David Salle who both did movies. So Deitch’s debut may very well lead to more cameos and big screen performances. The question is whether film is an extension of Deitch’s artistic intent or not.
If Kahlil Gibran were to give farewell advice to Deitch before his epic journey to the West Coast, he would say fame does not come without sacrifice. Recently, a large man fell on top of Deitch at his final opening and he just lost it. Unfortunately someone recorded the embarrassing (but not regrettable) moment and posted the video all over the internet. If getting into the spotlight proves too harsh for Deitch we can be assured that his incredible integrity will help get him through. When the Celebrity monster tries to drag him down, my advice to Jeffrey is to do some yoga and avoid the tabloids at the supermarket because he will be just fine. New York’s loss is showbiz’s gain.