Stefan Simchowitz Rages Against ‘Gallery Idiots’ Who Refuse to Sell to Him

The notorious collector claims dealers are lying when they say works are on reserve for museums.

Stefan Simchowitz at the MOCA Gala. (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for MOCA)
Stefan Simchowitz at the MOCA Gala. Courtesy of Donato Sardella/Getty Images for MOCA.

Somebody isn’t having fun at art fairs. Outspoken art collector Stefan Simchowitz has posted a rant about his experience on Facebook, railing at dealers for reserving works for museums, rather than selling to him.

The post, addressed to “Gallery Idiots,” slams dealers for attempting to generate interest in artwork by claiming that a museum has put the work on reserve. He argues that museums don’t actually have the money to buy all this art and are hamstrung by their board members anyway. Furthermore, Simchowitz adds, the practice drives away actual collectors, like him, especially those who don’t come from the old money crowd.

“These people like your bull shit, I understand, but they don’t buy that much art and if they do, its usually the same shit that their friends are buying,” Simchowitz writes.

If dealers don’t change their ways, he warns, “You will be left with the carcass remains of socialites, bored rich people, broke museum directors, and all manner of folk who have mastered the pretense of being wealthy, who have the mannerisms of being impressed by your ‘its on reserve for museums’ bull crap,” he wrote. “Meanwhile your artists will remain broke, you will eventually shut your doors, and complain about the art business lacking collectors.”

In 2014, the New York Times Magazine titled a profile on SimchowitzThe Art World’s Patron Satan,” detailing his unusual arrangement with young artists. “Critics charge that Simchowitz often preys on vulnerable young artists without gallery representation,” purchasing their work, driving up demand, and flipping it, before moving on to the next hot thing.

Simchowitz tells a different tale, insisting that his unique model is actually supporting young talent.

The Facebook post ends with the controversial collector sharing his cell phone number, telling artists to come to him when they lose faith in their galleries. “I will actually pay you.”

Read the full rant, save for Simchowitz’s number, below:

Gallery Idiots. If you tell every person the works you bring to art fairs are on reserve for museums, who pay little and take a long time to pay and often have no money to even buy, and have to talk to their idiotic boards of rich people who know about as much about art as your average guy who works at a news stand, you will make those, like myself, not bother to even come to the fair to try to buy art. You will be left with the carcass remains of socialites, bored rich people, broke museum directors and all manner of folk who have mastered the pretense of being wealthy, who have the mannerisms of being impressed by your “its on reserve for museums” bull crap. Meanwhile your artists will remain broke, you will eventually shut your doors and complain about the art business lacking collectors. You have made it an experience something akin to buying cleaning fluid or garbage bags. A dread chore for all those who actually buy art, do business and have better things to do then feign the pretension of belonging to some class of wealth whose past times include buying the same expensive clothes and jewels to wear whilst comparing vacations at the same soul less resorts and making sure you eat at the right restaurants. These people like your bull shit, I understand, but they don’t buy that much art and if they do, its usually the same shit that their friends are buying and that shit can normally be found in the same 5 galleries or 3 major auction houses. For the most part you have built a distribution system for those that don’t actually give a rats ass about anything beyond vacations and creature comforts and feeling satisfied by their visits to a few fairs and attendance at a few fancy VIP-invite-only dinners – this does not constitute a commitment to art. In addition your “I will only sell the work if your collector visits me and my gallery and personally sits in front of me to tell me how much they care about what you are selling them other wise you wont sell them the work” line of terrible thinking only plays to the benefit of the big gallery system. The big gallery system understands that the clients who buy the great work are busy making money and have better things to do then visit you in your white wall mausoleum. All of your pretentious BS just drives the customers to the kill floor of the big galleries. They know what to do, while you wait around fart arsing around for the most successful people NOT to come to visit you. Real people have real lives, they have families and work and many other significant commitments that go well beyond sucking up to your petty little asses. You have built a venus fly trap that catches bull shit and really nothing else. Artists, as you wait for the museum to buy your art, pay for your art, just call me 917 *******. I will actually pay you.


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