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Filling the Deitch Void

Filling the Deitch Void

The effects of Deitch Projects closing has finally hit New York. Last year, Jeffrey Deitch, the legendary art dealer, set sail for Los Angeles to serve as Director of MOCA. The museum was highly criticised for selecting a market maker as its head, and many curators handed in their resignations as California art dealers humphed that Deitch would bring down the credibility they had worked so hard to acheive on the West Coast. Little did they know that a year later, MOCA is considered the “hip” museum to the LACMA’s conservative image.

It has taken a full year to understand the impact of Deitch’s move and NYC can now feel the void in the emerging artist market.  There is no other gallery program in NYC that supports and nurtures young artists careers as Deitch did and collectors are noticing the lack of new talent being shown. For the few galleries who have shown new artists, the paintings are sold before the paint dries and no young artist can keep up with this demand.  Alex Prager and Angel Otero, represented by Yancey Richardson and Lehman Maupin respectively, have sold out their NYC shows and have desperate collectors attempting bribery to get one piece. I suppose this carnal desire for work by young artists represents the gaping hole left by Deitch Projects, whose program brought to light the work of art market superstars, Kehinde Wiley, Kristin Baker, and Nari Ward as well as promising newcomers, Elizabeth Neel, Dzine, and Tauba Auerbach.

The genius of Deitch’s strategy can be shown through juxtaposition of how Eleven Rivington has managed Jacob Kassay. Less than a year after selling out Kassay’s first NYC show, one of his sought after silver paintings showed up for sale at Phillips de Pury. The painting originally retailed at $10,000 and soared to over $80,000. His gallery, instead of realizing this as completely unhealthy to the young artist’s career, skyrocketed their prices to match that of the auction house. It will be difficult for Jacob Kassay to maintain the quality of work that creates desire to purchase at that level. We must not forget the trouble Dana Shutz had recreating the brilliance of her first show at Zach Feuer after her market more than doubled at auction. Deitch controlled his artists markets, consistently pricing low even after museum shows and high auction prices, which is healthy for a young artist’s career.

The void left behind by Deitch Projects is unlikey to be filled by just one gallery again, it will be the collaborative effort of all galleries to find and include emerging artists into their programs. In the meantime there is an opening in the NYC gallery program: Visionaries need only apply.

Some of TFAA’s favorite moments by Deitch artists:

Nari Ward at the 2006 Whitney Biennial.

Nari Ward, Glory, 2004

Jonathan Borofsky in Rockefeller Center, 2004.

Jonathan Borofsky, Walking to the Sky, 2004 (installation in Rockefeller Center, NYC)

Jim Isermann at LACMA.

Jim Isermann, Untitled (Plock) (1000), 2000 (Installation at LACMA)

Barry McGee at the 2008 Carnegie International.

Barry McGee in front of his installation at the 2008 Carnegie International (image courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

John Kessler’s powerful installation at Deitch Projects in 2008.

Jon Kessler, The Time was Now (detail), 2008 Photo credit: Andrew Ohanesian

Kehinde Wiley – it’s hard to narrow down a moment.  For sure the dinner after his opening at the Studio Museum in 2008.

Kehinde Wiley, Prince Tommaso Francesco of Savoy - Carignano, 2006

Kristin Baker’s talk at the Guggenheim in 2006.

Kristin Baker, Flying Curve, Differential Manifold, 2007

Tauba Auerbach’s performance at her 2009 Deitch show.

Tauba Auerbach, Auerglass, 2009

Elizabeth Neel’s Deitch show, 2009.

Elizabeth Neel, Condolences, 2008

Dzine at the opening of the Long Island City space.

Dzine, The Tipping Point, 2009 (Photo credit: Andreas Larson)

In case you need your Deitch fix:

MOCA’s Art in the Streets opens to the public on Sunday, April 17. The members’ opening is Saturday, April 16 and  anyone interested in attending to join MOCA today.

Art in the Streets is the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art. Curated by MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch and Associate Curators Roger Gastman and Aaron Rose, the exhibition will trace the development of graffiti and street art from the 1970s to the global movement it has become today, concentrating on key cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, and Sao Paulo, where a unique visual language or attitude has evolved. The exhibition will feature paintings, mixed media sculptures, and interactive installations by 50 of the most dynamic artists and will emphasize Los Angeles’s role in the evolution of graffiti and street art, with special sections dedicated to seminal local movements such as cholo graffiti and Dogtown skateboard culture. A comprehensive timeline illustrated with artwork, photos, video, and ephemera will provide a historical context for the work.

Art in the Streets is made possible by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.

This exhibition is generously supported by the Sydney Irmas Exhibition Endowment.

Major support is provided by Levi’s. Additional support is provided by Mandy and Cliff Einstein, Nike SB, MOCA Contemporaries, Janet and Tony Goldman, MOCA Partners, Montana Colors, and Greg Escalante.

In-kind media support is provided by Ovation, Los Angeles magazine, and KCRW 89.9 FM.

Saturday in the Streets is presented by Ovation.

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