Former Competitors Jeffrey Deitch and Larry Gagosian Team Up for Miami Show

Gagosian calls Deitch "one of the most imaginative, innovative curators out there."

Jeffrey Deitch and Larry Gagosian at the opening of
Jeffrey Deitch and Larry Gagosian at the opening of "Gus van Sant and James Franco's Unfinished" at Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills (2011). Photo: Clint Spaulding, courtesy Patrick McMullan.

There’s no shortage of art in Miami during Art Basel in Miami Beach, but one of the biggest shows of the annual event is shaping up to be a collaboration between dealers Jeffrey Deitch and Larry Gagosian, which will focus on figurative painting and sculpture.

“Larry and I have wanted to do a project together for some time,” Deitch told the New York Times. “Everything came together.”

Opening December 1, the “Unrealism” exhibition will be staged in a 20,000-square-foot space—the historic Moore Building (also the temporary home of the ICA, Miami)—in the Design District. Artists on view will include Jamian Juliano-Villani, David Salle, Ella Kruglyanskaya, John Currin, Elizabeth Peyton, and Urs Fischer.

“My gallery represents a lot of figurative artists,” Gagosian told the Times. “I think it’s a very important part of what’s going on now.”

The two gallerists, who both got their start thanks to legendary dealer Leo Castelli, were competitors for many years. But while Gagosian grew his business into a global empire, Deitch decamped to the West Coast in 2010, shuttering his eponymous gallery Deitch Projects to become director of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (LA MOCA). He stepped down three years later.

John Currin, Rachel in the Garden. Photo: © John Currin, photographed by Rob McKeever, courtesy Gagosian Gallery.

John Currin, Rachel in the Garden. Photo: © John Currin, photographed by Rob McKeever, courtesy Gagosian Gallery.

After a period of relative quiet, Deitch made a big splash at last year’s Art Basel in Miami Beach, hosting a performance by pop star and sometimes-artist Miley Cyrus (who he compared to Mike Kelley). In the year since, he’s kept quite busy, staging a street art exhibition in Coney Island with developer Thor Equities and returning to the old Deitch projects space with shows featuring Cameron and The Wolfpack‘s Angolo brothers.

Deitch’s latest collaboration came about when Gagosian was approached by developer and Design District founder Craig Robins, who proposed hosting an exhibition in the space. Gagosian, in turn, approached Deitch, who he thinks is “one of the most imaginative, innovative curators out there.”


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