Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art named Philippe Vergne as its new director on Wednesday, Jan. 15.

Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art named Philippe Vergne as its new director on Wednesday, Jan. 15. (Nick Ut/Associated Press)

Philippe Vergne, director of the Dia Art Foundation in New York, has been chosen by the Museum of Contemporary Art to be its new director.

Vergne follows Jeffrey Deitch, who left MOCA with almost two years left on a five-year contract. Deitch was an unconventional choice when he was appointed in 2010 -- a successful New York art dealer and advisor with no experience leading a nonprofit organization. And his tenure was a rocky one.

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In replacing Deitch, the museum’s search committee went with curatorial and museum administration experience. Board chairs Maria Bell and David Johnson, along with Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts president Joel Wachs, led a committee that included artists John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger, Catherine Opie and Ed Ruscha, who had all resigned from the MOCA board in 2012, criticizing the direction the museum was headed under Deitch. 

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All of the artists issued statements supporting the selection of Vergne.

In addition to five years heading Dia, Vergne, 47, has served as chief curator and deputy director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, director of the Francois Pinault Foundation in Paris and director of the Musee d’art Contemporain (MAC) in Marseille, France. He was born and educated in France.

Check back with Culture Monster for more on the new director of MOCA.

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