Wet Paint: Artists Rally to Save André Leon Talley From Eviction, Art-World Chef Keith McNally Opens in Miami, & More Art-World Gossip

What auction house CEO is just as confused by NFTs as you are? Which Chelsea gallery's elevators are falling apart? Read on for answers.

André Leon Talley attends the front row for Carolina Herrera during New York Fashion Week. Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images.
André Leon Talley attends the front row for Carolina Herrera during New York Fashion Week. Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images.

Every week, Artnet News brings you Wet Paint, a gossip column of original scoops reported and written by Nate Freeman. If you have a tip, email Nate at [email protected]



It’s been a long and twisted saga for the legendary Vogue editor André Leon Talley and his White Plains, New York, home. He’s lived there since 2004, and for nearly two decades, he’s had an arrangement with the home’s owners—George Malkemus, a former executive at Manolo Blahnik, and his husband Anthony Yurgaitis—where he pays rent on a regular basis. To date, he’s paid $955,558 to the owners, who paid $1 million for the house with the understanding that Talley would live in it, according to legal filings.

But because the lease agreement wasn’t re-signed in 2014, the owners claim that Talley owes them $515,872.96. And if he doesn’t pay up, he faces eviction.

Akeem Smith, shot by Paul Mpagi Sepuya. Photo courtesy Akeem Smith Instagram.

Thankfully for him, Talley has a few artists in his corner to help him raise the money to stay in his home. Akeem Smith—an artist who broke out in 2020 with his show at Red Bull Arts, “No Gyal Can Test”—has started a GoFundMe that hopes to raise the full half million.

“I am not going to be tastefully quiet or cool in this case,” Smith wrote on the site. “Mr. Talley is in a big pickle and we should do our best as a community to help him out. As an elder, he is a leader and a treasure, and we must look out for him—especially since he still has so much more to contribute and knowledge to spread.”

He added that Talley did not ask him to make the page, just that he felt it was the right thing to do.

So far, only a fraction of the total has been raised, but the GoFundMe has some high-profile donors. Ryan Trecartin gave $100, High Snobiety editor Thom Bettridge gave $200, and one anonymous donor gave $2,000. Other donors include dealer Pati Hertling, advisor Asher Edelman, artist and musician Lizzi Bougatsos, and ‘10s-famous model Lindsey Wixson Young.

In an Instagram post Wednesday, Talley said: “To Akeem Smith and the people who put up the Go Fund Me and those who have contributed, I appreciate the thoughtful gesture and generosity, but it is completely unnecessary.”



Pastis in New York. Photo courtesy Pastis Instagram.

To all the New Yorkers who fled Manhattan for Florida during 2020: You now have one more reason to never come back.

In a surprise move, Keith McNally, the restaurateur who invented and bottled the peak-New York kind of dining the art world’s been devouring for the past three decades, has announced that he will open a second location of his beloved bistro Pastis in a locale much swampier than the West Side. In 2022, Pastis 2.0 will open in the graffiti-plagued warehouse district that is Wynwood in Miami. McNally, who will operate the space alongside business partner Stephen Starr, announced the move in an Instagram post that showed him going over the floor plans.

Keith McNally with a mockup of the Pastis Miami location. Photo courtesy Keith McNally Instagram.

It’s only the second time McNally has gifted a non-Gotham city with one of his iconic boîtes—a carbon-copy version of his masterpiece, Balthazar, opened in London in 2013. But now Magic City will have its own outpost of the place that turned the Meatpacking District into the gentrified cobblestoned-laden boutiquified enclave it is today.

ZZ’s Sushi Bar logo. Courtesy Mario Carbone Instagram.

McNally’s not the only big-tent hospitality guru who’s opened in Miami recently. Major Food Group’s red-sauce blockbuster Carbone opened in South Beach last month, and that company will soon foist a new version of West Village seafood spot ZZ’s upon the Design District. This outpost will be called ZZ’s Sushi Bar, and it’s right around the corner from the Design District outpost of divine NYC Korean steakhouse Cote. In December, Marcus Samuelsson opened just the second edition of his Harlem mainstay, the Red Rooster, in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood, and filled it with artworks by Rashid Johnson, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, Pope.L, and Hank Willis Thomas.

McNally did not respond to a request for comment. But you can expect more New York institutions to take advantage of the sunny place for shady people in the months to come.



Listen to David Byrne! Photo courtesy Stop Making Sense.

We’re going to try something new here at the Wet Paint HQ—ASK WET PAINT, an occasional item where your dutiful columnist answers reader questions, peeling back the paint and showing how your gossip-laden sausage is stuffed. Is there a burning question about the contemporary art circus that’s been knocking about in your brain? Ask away. Send your most creative and outrageous questions to [email protected] with the subject header ASK WET PAINT. We’ll address a few of our favorites in a future column. What could go wrong?



Last week’s picture was of the extended family behind American Fine Arts, Co., one of the greatest galleries in New York history.

Here are those who knew the most people in the shot: John McCord, senior specialist at Phillips; the artist known as Romeo Galactic; Athena Denos, sales associate at David Kordansky Gallery; Off Paradise founder Natacha Polaert; Ethan Kennemer, founder of the Chicago space Jargon Projects; and the artist and curator Diego Diez. Congrats to all the winners.

OK, here is this week’s clue. What is this artwork and who is the artist?

Winners get hats, which have started to appear on the heads of very attractive and stylish art-historically inclined New Yorkers! Email guesses to [email protected]



What a rollercoaster. Photo courtesy Instagram.

Azealia Banks dumped new fiancé Ryder Ripps, then took him back a few hours later, according to her Instagram story … Dimes Square cool-kid pasta spot Bacaro has reopened with a hang of works artists have donated over the years, including examples by Andrew Kuo, Darren Bader, Leigh Ledare, and more … The new issue of The Drunken Canal is out today, with a feature on a certain writer’s art-filled Chinatown apartment—pick it up at the newspaper box a stone’s throw from ClandestinoFilm Forum is reopening April 2 … Jeremy O. Harris will be making a guest appearance in the first season of the Gossip Girl reboot … You can rent Lady Gaga’s former Lower East Side apartment for $2,000 a month …

Elevator going down! Photo courtesy a tipster.

The elevator buttons at Pace’s year-old Chelsea starship of a gallery are falling off the walls … Employees of beloved Chinatown eatery Jing Fong—the site of many a Triple Canopy gala (who would think that one could ever miss galas this much)—are fighting back against the landlord, who is forcing the closure of its gigantic dining room … The CEO of Sotheby’s is now crowdsourcing questions about his company’s future on his personal Instagram stories, best of luck …

I mean, what did he think would happen here? Photo courtesy Instagram.


*** Tau Lewis, Cheyenne Julien, and Eric N. Mack modeling looks for the new Ottolinger fall 2021 show *** Anna Delvey installing work by artist Matt Chambers in her new post-prison crib *** Chloe Sevigny commenting on a post by the essential Instagram account Starter Packs of New York that described a “Downtown Boy” specimen called the “Fine Art Fella” ***

A snippet of the massive, comprehensive Civilization magazine 2021 Godhead Silo. Photo courtesy Civilization magazine.

*** The incredible 2021 Godhead Silo, a pull-out diagram in the new issue of Civilization magazine that might be the most complete classification of the downtown landscape ever conceived, with references to every possible obscure New York source of influence *** Jeffrey Deitch at his Los Angeles gallery asking Shepard Fairey and Paul Schimmel something about NFTs, which resulted in Deitch wondering aloud whether NFTs could be “only about making money” *** A number of lucky New Yorkers wearing their Wet Paint hats in the wild, and if you haven’t gotten one yet, more will be available to order soon! *** A very pregnant Stella Schnabel photographed in the buff by Haley Wollens ***




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