In 2010, when the enigmatic curator Jeffrey Deitch closed his SoHo gallery, the Deitch Projects, to become the director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA, he left a vacuum in New York’s own contemporary art community. Once the unofficial clubhouse and lab for creatives like Terence Koh, Kenny Scharf, Dan Colen and Kehinde Wiley, the Deitch Projects served as an important platform for street art and experimental works during its 15 year lifespan. To catalog its complete and illustrious history, Deitch recently worked with publisher Rizzoli (and designer Stefan Sagmeister) on a new book appropriately titled “Live the Art.”
Laid out as a descriptive timeline, Deitch’s book opens with Vanessa Beecroft’s debut show in 1996 and walks chronologically through the space’s 115+ exhibitions. First-hand descriptions of everything from production difficulties before the show to the rowdy parties that followed, accompanied by large photographs bring the dizzying scope of each project to life. Flipping through the glossy pages, readers will be struck by the diverse happenings that occurred in the space including large-scale immersive installations like Martin Kersel’s “Tumble Room,” Michel Gondry’s “The Science of Sleep” and the wild 50th birthday bash Deitch threw for Jeff Koons. As a final stunt, the tome is housed in a 3D plastic cover, which feels like an authentic homage to the out-of-the-box approach that Deitch instilled with the iconic art space.
Images courtesy of Rizzoli