A Top Gagosian Director Has Been Suspended Without Pay Following Allegations of Misconduct

The gallery has brought in outside counsel to investigate the claims, which first surfaced on Instagram last week.

Sam Orlofsky at a party at the Chateau Marmont on March 3, 2010 in West Hollywood, California. Photo: Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

A prominent director at Gagosian has been suspended without pay after allegations of misconduct surfaced online.

Sam Orlofsky, who has been at the blue-chip gallery for 19 years and spearheaded its digital strategy, was accused of misconduct on Instagram last week. The gallery has referred the matter to its outside counsel, which is investigating the claims. The accusations surfaced at a time when the behavior of art dealers is under heightened scrutiny as Instagram accounts share anonymous submissions detailing allegations of poor behavior by powerful art-market figures. 

“Recently two social media accounts have alleged that a gallery employee has engaged in serious misconduct and, following these posts, we have received complaints about this person from current and former employees,” began a letter sent by gallery founder Larry Gagosian to his staff, which was reviewed by Artnet News. 

“As you would expect, the gallery takes this matter very seriously. We have initiated an investigation with outside counsel and pending the outcome, the employee in question has been suspended without pay.”

Sam Orlofsky and Larry Gagosian at Gagosian Gallery on March 4, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo: Billy Farrell/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Sam Orlofsky and Larry Gagosian at Gagosian Gallery on March 4, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo: Billy Farrell/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

The letter goes on to encourage staff members with relevant information to come forward and ensures that the gallery will respect confidentiality. It does not mention Orlofsky by name.

The gallery declined to comment further “out of respect for everyone involved.”

Orlofsky’s lawyer, John J. Rosenberg, did not respond to Artnet News’s request for comment. Rosenberg told Bloomberg, which first reported the story, that his client “intends to fully cooperate in the company’s inquiry into these matters, and to permit that process to appropriately proceed.”

Orlofsky joined Gagosian in 2001. Today, he works closely with artists including Dan Colen, Alex Israel, Mary Weatherford, and Jonas Wood. Over the past three years, he’s spearheaded the gallery’s digital expansion, developing its live-streamed programming, Artist Spotlight initiative, and online viewing rooms. 

In 2018—long before the current lockdown—Gagosian became one of the first galleries to embrace the online viewing room trend. An iteration devoted to a single Albert Oehlen painting listed at $6 million sold for a price exceeding the artist’s then-auction record of $4.7 million.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics