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Two ideas for Jeffrey Deitch, MOCA’s new director

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Jeffrey Deitch officially assumes the helm at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Tuesday, when he becomes the fourth director in MOCA’s 30-year history. He’ll have a lot on his plate.

Deitch has been working informally since being named to the top post in January, the first art dealer to vault into the director’s chair at a major American museum. MOCA has made stabilizing strides since its near-collapse in the fall of 2008, following years of fiscal mismanagement, although the operating endowment isn’t yet in shape.

The exhibition schedule is in flux. Deitch’s first show -- ‘Dennis Hopper Double Standard,’ a 50-year survey of art made by the late actor and organized by painter and movie director Julian Schnabel -- opens July 11.

Update June 2: A MOCA spokeswoman has now clarified earlier information and said that ‘Ends of The Earth’ is scheduled for Spring 2012. The first version of this post said it had disappeared from the schedule.

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It is also unlikely that MOCA’s new director has fully disentangled himself from his business interests. Deitch Projects, the commercial New York gallery he has run since 1996, closed Saturday, but a final public project in Union Square continues until Oct. 3. Given a large gallery inventory of art that Deitch has said he expects to continue to liquidate, potentially sticky ethics questions loom for the head of a major nonprofit.
For the moment, let’s set all that aside. Set aside program, staffing, fund-raising, smoothing ruffled art-world feathers, business and the rest. All are important. But if I were Deitch, I would take two other steps as soon as possible: Change the museum’s operating hours and make admission free.

To find out why, read the full story here.

-- Christopher Knight

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Jeffrey Deitch’s first show at MOCA: Dennis Hopper

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