Jeffrey Deitch left Los Angeles in 2013 after resigning as the director of the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art, returning to New York where he took back his two old spaces in SoHo and reasserted himself in a scene where he’d been a fixture for decades. But he had some unfinished business out West, and in April 2017 he announced he’d be opening a gallery in a 15,000-square-foot space in Hollywood, staging three museum-scale shows per year. Explaining his return to Los Angeles, Deitch told the New York Times that “Running MOCA was a privilege and I’m very grateful for the opportunity. But I’m much better suited to running my own situation, where I can make all the creative decisions.”
Back when it was announced, the first show was set to be a survey of “the legacy of Dada and Pop Art in the digital age” that would serve as a sequel to a show he staged at the Yuz museum in Shanghai in 2015, but apparently plans have changed. Today, Deitch announced that the first show at his LA space will be an exhibition of large-scale works by internationally famous artist and dissident Ai Weiwei. (The sequel to the Yuz museum show will be exhibited in the new gallery in Spring of 2019, Deitch clarified to Artsy in a phone call.) Ai last showed with Deitch in New York in November 2016, when he also staged massive installations at Mary Boone and Lisson Gallery. In Los Angeles, the centerpiece of his show with Deitch will be Stools (2013), which consists of nearly 6,000 wooden stools from the Ming and Qing dynasties and the Republican period, all collected by Ai from villages in northern China. There will also be pieces made of Lego blocks and works inspired by the cats at Ai’s studio.