When I received an invitation to a party at a shoe store in Beverly Hills to welcome Jeffrey Deitch, the new Director of MOCA, I wasn't sure what to think. It made better sense when I "heard" about Tod's CEO Diego Della Valle's relationship with Dennis Hopper, and when it was announced last week that Deitch's first show will be a survey of Hopper's artwork curated by Julian Schnabel. Although not represented in MOCA's collection and in spite of the fact that most big museum exhibitions take years to organize, Deitch decided to do this show a couple of months ago when visiting Schnabel, a longtime friend of the actor, who, at 73, has advanced prostate cancer.
I grew up in Los Angeles and understand that in Hollywood, there is a time honored tradition to use the language of celebrity and store parties to get press coverage and that museums are at a crossroads. But how is it possible that Eli and Edythe Broad, Los Angeles' most generous arts patrons, were mislabeled in the photo caption? Hosting the party to welcome the new Director of one of our city's major cultural institutions bestows the allure of art and the association with the museum's great history and collection; but, I keep thinking, what does it mean that the patrons who recently "saved" MOCA are unrecognizable, at least to the celebrity press and fashion publicists? And what does this tell us about the value Hollywood places on museums and its patrons?
I hope Mr. and Mrs. Broad got a gift bag reflective of the respect they deserve.