LAMOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch Depicted and Perceived as a Paint-Rolling Ayatollah

Though overshadowed by the ongoing Smithsonian/National Portrait Gallery controversy on the other side of the country, new LAMOCA director and former New York gallery gadabout, Jeffrey Deitch, is still catching heat for his decision to paint over a street artist’s mural, commissioned by the museum, nearly as soon as it was finished, fearing public outcry over its imagery. Beyond general anger on the web, the LA Times‘ Culture Monster blog reports that a mural has gone up elsewhere in Los Angeles, affixed to a street art-friendly restaurant, showing Deitch as an Iranian ayatollah. Instead of a staff, he holds “an extension pole with a paint roller at the end.” The Times also talks to a number of artists who are upset over the whitewashing, but notes that several are keeping quiet about the matter so as to not hurt their chances of getting their work into the museum. Whatever the case in the community, in just the five months since he took over at the LAMOCA, Deitch received some low marks for his first exhibit and now has, at least temporarily, ostracized a portion of the local arts community. He’s certainly making for a trial-by-fire debut.