It has come and gone. The last Deitch opening. Ever. I thought it would be a big fanfare, maybe even with a parade or a pony or something. But instead it was a very organized, very crowded opening. The show had been promoted like crazy- murals are seemingly everywhere. I even let the boys put a piece on my roof. And thus, the crowd was completely out of control, as expected. But Deitch was prepared, and kept the 1000 person line at bay, letting in shifts of people for 20 or so minutes at a time, then dismissing and replenishing shifts of the crowd until around 9:30.
I guess I’m a little disappointed. I knew what to expect from Shepard Fairey. His shows are pretty consistent, that being a positive word. I’ve sold his work many times; I’ve got his whole thing down pat. It looked good- the work was larger than ever, but there were no bells or whistles. Except maybe the video that everyone is talking about, of a pink-suited Deitch with a bloody nose, berating a large man. The man slipped off the gallery stairs and fell onto little Jeffrey, bloodying his nose, and then was promptly man-handled out, with the ensuing conversation on the video. I didn’t see any of it as I always seem to arrive (fashionably) late, but that’s all anyone could talk about. Bloody noses.
Did the hype machine run out? Or did Deitch just let it since he is moving on to warmer pastures? I’m not referring to the press, because Shepard could get that if he were showing inside a cardboard box, but I mean the buzz that has surrounded the gallery for the last umpteen years. Like, the rumors that James Franco was going to do a show based on his character on General Hospital. I don’t know if that was actually ever true, but as ridiculous as it sounded, the entire art world kind of laughed and said “Oh, that Jeffrey Deitch, he’s nuts”…in a good way. But it kept us all talking and waiting and wondering. He opened a space in Long Island City of all places (so far from the subway on the water), yet it was still packed to the rafters a few summers ago as Swoon and co. sailed in on her makeshift boats to the tune of a crusty punk looking marching band. He commandeered the wall on Houston and brought us the ghost of Keith Haring, followed by Os Gemeos and an amazingly inspiring show at the giant Wooster location. He brought us art parades, which I would write about, but I was never actually able to go being that I worked every Saturday for three years…but I heard they were fun. And out of the box. What I will remember most is the Black Acid Co-op exhibition, in which Justin Lowe and Jonah Freeman turned the Wooster space into a labyrinth of dilapidated crack dens, meth labs, abandoned stores, leading into odd museum like spaces and into rooms that seemed like family’s homes from the 1970s. So amazingly crazy and off putting and mind altering.
But enough walking down memory lane. I’ve read other “wrap up” articles about this final opening, and they all think he went out with a bang. But I can’t agree. It seemed, quiet and safe and simply abrupt. Instead of the “remember me” I had hoped for, it just feels like Jeffrey Deitch tip-toed away.