In defense of Jeffrey Deitch

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Outgoing MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch

The embattled director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jeffrey Deitch, formally announced his resignation Wednesday. It has been long anticipated and many of his critics are breathing a sigh of relief.

But despite his managerial and political mistakes, it turns out not everybody is pleased to see him go.

Frances Anderton, host of KCRW’s show Design and Architecture, has found perspectives on his tenure that differ from much of what we’ve heard in the press.

Anderton says media coverage of the Deitch tenure has largely reflected the emotions and opinions of the art community. But there are many outside of that community, who nonetheless are interested in art, who have welcomed his efforts to shake up MOCA.

Anderton says that while Deitch made some mistakes, he put on shows that really appealed to a wider audience, like “Art in the Streets.” She says the way he mixed up fashion, film, music and performance appealed to a wider audience, and brought in young people, from families who didn’t go to art museums.

Here’s her conversation with KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis.