Jeffrey Deitch

Jeffrey Deitch embodied the fashion-forward approach to art. Now he's fashion-forwarded himself out of a job.

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Reading about the latest controversy at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles—the apparently forced resignation of the longtime head curator Paul Schimmel over the pop-culture exhibitions that the new director Jeffrey Deitch is bringing to the museum—I experienced my usual feelings of disbelief.

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You can always count on the anti-traditionalists to come up with their own cockamamie traditions. And The Painting Factory: Abstraction After Warhol—which I caught at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles just before it closed the other day—is about as nutty as they come.

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The crackup at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles—with glitz-blitz director Jeffrey Deitch on the ropes and famous artists resigning from the board as fast as you can say John-Baldessari-Barbara-Kruger-Ed-Ruscha—is a fascination. The fascination has nothing to do with what Deitch has actually done.

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The Opportunist

Leo and His Circle: The Life of Leo Castelli By Annie Cohen-Solal (Alfred A. Knopf, 540 pp., $35) I. Annie Cohen-Solal’s new biography of Leo Castelli, the art dealer who will forever be associated with the meteoric rise of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg in the years around 1960, has set me to thinking about the interest that men and women who run galleries inspire among a fairly wide public.

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THE PICTURE: Recession Proof

This is the opening shot of The Picture--my new, biweekly column. I’m not planning to restrict myself to the visual arts here, although they will certainly be a central concern. I want to range more widely than I have in the past, writing about the interlocking worlds of books and pictures and culture that are my lifeblood, my passion. I may describe a forgotten novel that I picked up in a secondhand bookstore. Or salute the life and work of a friend who’s not around anymore. From time to time, I'll dedicate a column to a painting that's excited me in a museum in Milwaukee or San Francisco.

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