It’s Official: Deitch Announces Resignation, ‘Will Stay on to Ensure a Smooth Transition’

Deitch. (Getty Images)

Deitch. (Getty Images)

On Tuesday, numerous news outlet and various sources close to Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art said that Jeffrey Deitch would resign as director on Wednesday, but as of yesterday evening there was no announcement. Phone calls to MOCA and Mr. Deitch went unanswered: complete radio silence. But then, at 9:30 p.m. New York time, 6:30 p.m. in L.A., the news came that Mr. Deitch had officially told the museum’s board of trustees that he was “stepping down” after three years in the top job.

Mr. Deitch’s exit will not happen immediately. The official news release said that he “confirmed he will stay on to ensure a smooth transition and the successful completion of MOCA’s $100 million dollar endowment campaign, expected to close this fall.” It had been widely speculated that he would leave by the end of the month, but that appears not to be the case.

MOCA also announced that its board had elected Fred Sands, previously a vice chair, as its new president, taking the place of Jeffrey Soros, who had served in that role. Mr. Soros is staying on the board with the title president emeritus. Eugenio Lopez, Lillian Lovelace and Maurice Marciano were named vice chairs.

The release comes with a lengthy list of Mr. Deitch’s accomplishments at the museum, which is reproduced in full below:

  • Developing the museum’s Board with the addition of 16 new trustees;
  • Completing the acquisition of more than 500 works to the museum’s permanent collection;
  • Spearheading the creation of MOCAtv, an award-winning digital extension of the museum’s education and exhibition program. In less than one year, it has generated more than 4 million views across its unique content platforms and is among the most cutting-edge fusions of music, dance, film and fashion to reach a broad, international audience of contemporary art enthusiasts;
  • Being the visionary behind Art in The Streets, which attracted the highest number of attendees in the museum’s history and diversified the museum’s audience;
  • Arranging more than twenty exhibitions and programs that have brought some of the world’s most important contemporary artists to Los Angeles, including:
  • The first major solo museum exhibition in the United States for Ryan Trecartin
  • The first West Coast solo museum show for Theaster Gates
  • The first West Coast solo show for Cai Guo-Qiang
  • The Painting Factory: Abstraction After Warhol
  • George Herms: Xenophilia (Love of the Unknown)
  • Kenneth Anger: Icons
  • Naked Hollywood: Weegee in Los Angeles
  • Amanda Ross-Ho: TEENY TINY WOMAN
  • The first comprehensive museum retrospective of the work of Urs Fischer now on view at MOCA Grand Avenue and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.


There you have it.

The museum has formed a search committee to find a new director that is led by Maria Bell and David Johnson, who are co-chairs of the board of trustees, and Joel Wachs, who is a former trustee and is currently president of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

I feel like I’m in a very small minority here, but I’m still hoping that Mr. Deitch gets to realize his interesting-sounding show about disco and art in some form. Here’s hoping he’ll be back in New York City soon and can pull something together.