L.A. Weekly's Dennis Romero reported last night that Jeffrey Deitch, the controversial director of Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art, is leaving at the end of the month.
Since joining MOCA in 2010, Deitch has been at the center of a firestorm of controversy, beginning with the dismissal of curator Paul Schimmel and resulting in the departure of every artist on the museum's board.
The popular critique of Deitch's influence on the LA establishment can be summed up in this quote by Carlo McCormick:
"Jeffrey represents a populist streak that many in the art world consider vulgar. He goes for spectacle more than scholarship. They feel he's dumbing down the cultural values of the art world."
Whether the public backlash has anything to do with Deitch's rumored departure, we don't know. When asked to confirm Deitch's decision to leave, MOCA replied in an email to The Huffington Post: "If and when there is news to confirm, will advise."
Yet other sources are speculating that the former New Yorker is planning on bidding farewell to the west coast altogether. Former L.A. Weekly editor Tom Christie wrote on his tumblr that Deitch was on the hunt for both an apartment and a gallery space in the East Village. (His former gallery, Deitch Projects, was previously in SoHo, in case you were curious.)
Christie goes on to claim that MOCA is already searching for a new director, a daunting task considering the museum's taxing last year. Deitch would leave in his wake only two curators on staff and a barrage of economic troubles. "At this point it’s about rebuilding the entire institution internally, because it’s been so devastated," Gary Garrels, Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture at SFMOMA told Christie.
It's hard to believe the contentious figure may finally be taking his leave. This may be, as Paddy Johnson said, the "closest the art world gets to having its own coup." In honor of Deitch's potential exodus, we've compiled the bespectacled director's best looks from the past couple years. While his directorial prowess is questionable, the man sure can rock a suit and glasses.
CENTURY CITY, CA - JUNE 27: Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Jeffrey Deitch (L) and China Chow attend the Helmut Newton opening night exhibit at Annenberg Space For Photography on June 27, 2013 in Century City, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Annenberg Space For Photography)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 21: MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch speaks on stage during the MOCA public opening for 'Urs Fischer' at MOCA Grand Avenue on April 21, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for MOCA)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 19: MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch speaks during Preview of the exhibition Urs Fischer opening April 21-August 19, 2013 at MOCA Grand Avenue and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA on April 19, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for MOCA)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12: MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch (L) and trustee David Johnson attend 2011 MOCA Gala, An Artist's Life Manifesto, Directed by Marina Abramovic at MOCA Grand Avenue on November 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for MOCA)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - NOVEMBER 30: Jeffrey Deitch and Pharrell Williams attend The Kingdom of Morocco and Maybach dinner in celebration of Art Basel with Maria and Bill Bell, Jeffrey Deitch and MOCA at Raleigh Hotel on November 30, 2011 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for HL Group)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - NOVEMBER 30: Jeffrey Deitch attends Art Basel Miami Beach at the Miami Beach Convention Center on November 30, 2011 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Rabbani and Solimene Photography/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 27: Jeffrey Deitch attends a special screening of Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child presented by NOWNESS & Arthouse Films at MOMA on April 27, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for NOWNESS)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 20: MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch attends Yesssss! MOCA Gala 2013, Celebrating the Opening of the Exhibition Urs Fischer, at MOCA Grand Avenue and The Geffen Contemporary on April 20, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for MOCA)
And to relive some of our favorite Deitch-bashing moments, check out the slideshow below. Let us know your thoughts on Deitch's directing chops in the comments.