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Oral history interview with Jeffrey Deitch, 2006 May 15

Oral history interview with Jeffrey Deitch, 2006 May 15

Deitch, Jeffrey, 1950-

Gallery owner, Museum director, Dealer

Collection Information

Size: Transcript: 33 pages

Format: Originally recorded on 2 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 2 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 12 min.

Summary: An interview of Jeffrey Deitch conducted 2006 May 15, by James McElhinney, for the Archives of American Art, at Deitch Projects on Grand Street, in the SoHo neighborhood of New York, New York. Deitch discusses his childhood in Hartford, Connecticut; growing up in a family business; his experience as an exchange student in France and Japan during his teenage years; his education in economics and art history at Wesleyan University; the opening of his own local art gallery in Lenox, Massachusetts; his move to New York and his first job at the John Weber gallery as a secretary; curating an exhibition called "Lives" which described how artists use their lives as an art medium; attending Harvard Business School; moving back to New York and starting an art advisory program for Citibank in 1979; his travels to Asia; his first New York gallery opening with artists Peter Halley and Charles Ray; opening Deitch Projects in 1996; the administration of the gallery, including investing in an archivist, a financial manager, and a press liaison; incorporating popular musical acts into shows, attesting to his belief in diversity in the arts; his view of gallery publicity and criticism; art fairs versus traditional art galleries; discussion of works of art such as Tu M' (1918) by Marcel Duchamp and Edouard Manet's Bar at the Folies-Bergere (1881-82); and art education evolving into a more professional field. Deitch also recalls John Weber, Carl Andre, John Cage, Vito Acconci, Jeff Koons, Julian Pretto, Vanessa Beecroft, Virginia Dwan, Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, Keith Haring, and others.

Biographical/Historical Note

Jeffrey Deitch (1950- ) is an art dealer from New York, New York. James McElhinney (1952- ) is a painter and educator from New York, New York.


This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.


Funding for this interview was provided by a grant from the Widgeon Point Charitable Foundation. Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.

Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Jeffrey Deitch, 2006 May 15. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.