Jeffrey Deitch in conversation with Wild Art authors

A new kind of art and a new kind of art audience debated hotly on The Brooklyn Rail website
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Jeffrey Deitch
Jeffrey Deitch

David Carrier emailed us last night to draw our attention to a great discussion piece between him, his Wild Art co-author Joachim Pissarro and former MOCA director  Jeffrey Deitch on the rather fine Brooklyn Rail website. Deitch of course is the man who's made a name for himself by introducing pretty seismic changes in the art world around how we view art and what art ultimately is. 

The former MOCA director begins the article by saying, "Let me congratulate you both on this wonderful book Wild Art. It was introduced to me in the best way. Do you have any idea who brought it to my attention? Jeff Koons. Jeff Koons showed it to me and with his special Jeff Koons enthusiasm we looked through it together. As you know, it’s the artists who are always the aesthetic leaders, who open things up in art and it’s artists like Jeff who opened up the vision of the art world toward what you presented in the book."

 

From Wild Art
From Wild Art

The article then takes in Deitch's history and the many interesting things he's launched or been involved with. He then shifts the conversation towards how the appetite for art has changed in the last decade and why the Wild Art book is so right for now. In response to David Carrier's question about how he would characterise this new art audience, Deitch says. 

"This is a new audience that is watching films by independent directors, or listening to bands like LCD Soundsystem, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and No Age. Musicians like these are involved in a dialogue with art and literature. This new audience is not academic. They’re open to all kinds of influences—in a deep, immediate, and very direct kind of way—and what I saw in my gallery, one of the reasons that led me to want to work in a public museum was that I wanted a platform to connect with this expanded audience.

From Wild Art
From Wild Art

"Art in the Streets at MOCA was thrilling. A misperception was that the audience was all skateboard kids, but it was, in fact, very broad. It was the heads of Hollywood studios; it was families, three generations with the grandparents, kids, and the babies in the stroller. The show also embraced the Mexican-American community, celebrating the Cholo graffiti heroes. This enthusiastic new audience sees visual culture in a broader way and not in a narrow, academic way. 

Asked by Joachim Pissarro about the much debated contention that he "alienated the regular public of MOCA" with some of his shows Deitch replies emphatically. 

Deitch: Our membership went up 18 percent as a result of Art in the Streets and we attracted important new patrons. The museum and donor profiles have changed. When you go around and visit the potential corporate contributors, they don’t look like they did 40 years ago. They’re not 60-year-old white guys in blue suits and white shirts. The people making decisions in these companies are in their 20s or 30s, highly aware of the latest fashions and trends. There are posters of Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and company on their walls. In many ways, here, the audience is ahead of the art establishment. This new audience gets it."

 

Portrait of Jeffrey Deitch. Pencil on paper by Phong Bui from The Brooklyn Rail article
Portrait of Jeffrey Deitch. Pencil on paper by Phong Bui from The Brooklyn Rail article

All in all it's a great read, very in depth, extremely informative and as lively as you'd expect given the three characters involved. You'll find it here. Hats off to The Brooklyn Rail for getting the story. Meanwhile, if you're in London and you'd like to see Carrier and Pissarro in person, they're giving a talk at the ICA next Wednesday. Details here. If you can't make it to London buy the book!


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