Deitch Has Spoken

But he hasn’t said much. In what was billed by the LA Times as a “wide-ranging” interview about the mess at MOCA, Deitch didn’t stray too far from the party line. Among the subjects he addressed:

-How great Eli Broad is. (“Eli has been an absolutely great patron with us. He’s so totally supportive.”)
-How great the MOCA board is. (“Our core board is with the program. We’re so transparent with our board members.”)
-How great his old gallery gig in New York was. (“I was completely engaged in everything. But how did I do it? I had a great team.”)
-How art can be fun AND serious. (“These are not contradictory concepts in art.”)

Yes. Wide-ranging. Noticeably absent from this *extensive* (asterisks denote sarcasm) conversation:

-Any further explanation of the reasons for the departure of venerable longtime chief critic, Paul Schimmel.
-Anything about Deitch’s future vision for MOCA as it relates to guest/freelance curators.
-Any reaction to the mass-exodus of artists from the MOCA board.
-Any clue of how Deitch plans to tackle MOCA’s long-term financial viability.
-Any discussion of the importance of diversity of artistic vision among LA museums and how Eli Broad’s intimate involvement at MOCA, LACMA (BCAM), and now the new Broad Collection being built across the street from MOCA, might put Los Angeles at risk for losing multiple artistic voices.

These are all questions that Gail Eichenthal and I put to art critic/historian Hunter Drohojowska-Philp and LA Times art critic Christopher Knight today on Arts Alive on KUSC. (Deitch himself refused an interview with us.)

What remains unclear is if the Times reporter, Reed Johnson, asked Deitch these and other tough questions and Deitch just dodged them…or if this was just a softball interview all around. Given Deitch’s extreme silence in recent weeks–inexplicable silence at such a critical moment for his museum–I have every reason to believe this is just more not-so-deft obfuscation on Deitch’s part.

Bring on the disco…I guess.


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