Grayson says she has lined up a partner, whom she would only describe as “a young gallery owner from Europe,” and though she hasn’t signed a lease just yet, she has been eyeing the 3,200-square-foot building on Wooster that recently housed French fashion brand Marithé + François Girbaud. (Deitch had been thinking of taking the space himself after his Grand Street gallery closed last fall due to construction problems at the building next door.) “It would probably be smarter if I took a smaller, cheaper space, but I’d cry if I was running a small gallery on the Lower East Side,” she admitted. “And artists are ambitious, especially the ones I work with, so you need to have a space that excites them.”
One helpful hand available to Grayson, of course, is Deitch. Will he be involved in the gallery? “No, because literally he can’t,” Grayson said. “But of course he will be, because he’s my closest relationship in the art world, which is to say he’ll be involved as my mentor and a very respected friend. If I had my druthers I’d be in constant contact with him. But in no way will he be financially involved. He’s really just passing the baton because he’s going to be so busy himself. He’ll probably just be an avid follower who can come and have fun at our parties.”
Deitch started as a receptionist at the Leo Castelli Gallery before earning a Harvard Business School MBA and eventually founding one of New York City’s premiere contemporary art galleries — in three separate spaces. In less than fifteen years, Deitch Projects has become an emblem of intelligent, progressive, and farsighted curatorial practice. Now he will, it seems, assume control of the largest gallery space imaginable.
Images: Kathy Grayson, by Patrick McMullan; Andy Warhol, Heart, 1979; Jeffrey Deitch by Patrick McMullan