Wet Paint: Mega-Galleries Descend Upon Aspen, Artist Accuses Podcaster of Pulling Episode After Botched Sale, & More Art-World Gossip

What Dimes Square hotspot did the Second Daughter just dine at? How can you score a coveted Wet Paint hat? Read on for details. 

Aspen in the summertime. Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post.

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 might be cold now, but smart art dealers are already thinking about summertime. Sure, Florida seems nice at the moment, but come June, the swampy climes of Palm Beach will make that slim island for billionaires a sweaty unbearable slice of heatwave.

And that’s how the ritzy ski town of AspenColorado, has become the next art world hub. Wet Paint can reveal that Almine Rech, the powerhouse gallery with an artist roster lousy with blue-chippers sporting sprawling outposts in London and Paris and Brussels, is opening just its second stateside gallery—not in the new gallery hubs of Palm Beach or the Hamptons, but in Aspen.

The gallery, founded by the dealer Almine Ruiz-Picasso, notched a 900-square-foot space at 601 E. Hyman Avenue, just steps from the Aspen Art Museum, and will open June 4 with a show of new work by Nathaniel Mary Quinn.

Aspen Art Museum. (Photo by FG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

Aspen Art Museum. (Photo by FG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

While the Aspen Art Museum has long been buoyed by the big-money collectors with mountain houses built upon the Rockies, and collectors routinely fly in for events such as Artcrush, Aspen has never been exactly teeming with world-class cutting edge contemporary art galleries. Baldwin Gallery has been the mainstay of the tony red-brick streets of downtown Aspen. Marianne Boesky opened a western outpost of the Chelsea gallery a few years back, but few followed.

Now the migration has begun: Almine Rech may be the biggest name so far, but recently Honor Fraser arrived from from Los Angeles, and Galeria Mascota arrived from Mexico City. The design firm founded by Rodman Primack has set up shop in the luxe ski town haunted by the ghosts of wild west heroes and the spirit of Hunter S. Thompson.

Almine Rech Ruiz-Picasso at Musee national Picasso-Paris. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)

Almine Rech Ruiz-Picasso at Musee national Picasso-Paris. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)

“The idea for the new outpost came about as the gallery was searching for an opportunity to expand its programming in the United States,” a rep for Almine Rech said in a comment. “Aspen was a natural choice given its storied legacy as a creative hub for artists and thinkers, and its seasoned art community, reflected by the Aspen Art Museum’s high caliber exhibitions.”

Even if Chelsea foot traffic is set to be down as New York continues to emerge from the… the… well, you know, collectors will be roaming the streets of their summertime towns ready to snap up a few works. One can only stroll through the Shigeru Ban-designed Aspen Art Museum so many times, and galleries want to pounce on this void of white-wall spaces. Collectors who have homes in the Aspen area and spend much of the warm months there include Don and Mera Rubell, Warren and Allison Kanders, Ramiro and Gabriela Garza, Domenico and Eleanore De Sole, John and Amy Phelan, Marc and Jane Nathanson, and many many more. With a gallery hub now established, expect to see many of them jostling for seats at bar at the Hotel Jerome come June.



Talk Art host Russell Tovey. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Talk Art host Russell Tovey. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Over the last few years, the actor Russell Tovey has become quite the influential art world talking head—not the most likely trajectory for a guy best known for playing a werewolf on a BBC supernatural comedy drama. Talk Art, the podcast Tovey hosts with the gallerist Robert Diament, has been downloaded from the Apple store more than two million times. People who listen to podcasts seem to like the folksy approach Tovey takes when talking to artists or dealers about this wacky contemporary art world we all live in. He even scored a book deal—an eponymous tome coming in May promises to deliver “everything you wanted to know about contemporary art but were afraid to ask.”

Here’s something you wanted to know about contemporary art but were afraid to ask: Is Russell Tovey a petty wannabe collector who lashes out at artists when he can’t buy one of their works?

Issy Wood. Photo courtesy Deezer.

According to an Instagram story posted by Issy Wood—a London-based artist who makes woozily gorgeous still life paintings awash in glorious pop culture detritus that are in incredibly high demand, for good reason—Tovey deleted an episode of Talk Art all about Wood’s work after Tovey “had a tantrum over us not selling him my work.”

“My grandma only got to listen to half of it because she is addicted to online mahjong, and she’s piiiissed,” Wood said in the post, in her typically dry tone. (Clearly, Issy Wood is a must-follow on Instagram.)

Issy Wood, <em>OKAY (miranda ices cakes under duress)</em> (2019). Photo courtesy Carlos Ishikawa.

Issy Wood, OKAY (miranda ices cakes under duress) (2019). Photo courtesy Carlos Ishikawa.

Sure enough, IMDb has a listing for season five, episode one of Talk Art entitled “Issy Wood (QuarARTine special episode)” and the website Podimo has a listing for the episode. “In episode one we meet artist Issy Wood, best known for her incredible paintings but also an acclaimed musician and writer,” the listing reads. The episode aired March 30, 2020, but when you scroll through the list of Talk Art episodes in Apple Podcasts, the Issy Wood episode seems to have vanished. There’s a segment that aired March 26 with Mark Gatiss, and a segment that aired April 2 with Rufus Wainwright, but no segment from March 30.

See? No Issy Wood episode. Photo courtesy Apple Podcasts.

See? No Issy Wood episode. Photo courtesy Apple Podcasts.

Maybe instead of downloading the latest episode of Talk Art, you should listen to Wood’s awesome debut EP, “Cries Real Tears!” Way better than listening to two dudes that dealers won’t sell work to talking about paintings.

Wood declined to comment and Tovey could not be reached.



The Wet Paint hat. Photo courtesy Nate Freeman.

The day has come—Wet Paint hats are here. You might have thought this was all an elaborate bit, but no, the hats are real, and the hats are here. They’ve already been spotted a few times in the wild. But how can you get one yourself, even without answering one of the notoriously hard quizzes? Well, lucky reader, you can buy one right here, right now! All the proceeds will go back toward getting the next batch of hats made. Rest assured, if you were a quiz winner, you will get your hat, but right now buying one is the quickest way to get your hands on the hottest merch this side of Dimes Square.


Speaking of quizzes, many of you knew that last week’s mystery artwork was Lawrence Weiner’s Water Spilled From Source to Use, installed in 1984 at 486 Greenwich Street at the home of the late Geoffrey Hendricks and his partner, Sur Rodney. It is, like many of Weiner’s works, in the public freehold, and thus is owned by the public. Also, it was Lawrence Weiner’s birthday last week, he turned 79—and is very much alive, despite a rumor to the contrary a few weeks ago. Happy birthday to you, Lawrence!

Many of you guessed this correctly, which warms the heart of your humble quiz proprietor—everyone in New York should take a monthly TriBeCa stroll down to this glorious public artwork. Alas, we can only list the first ten respondents. They are: Los Angeles-based writer and editor Jordan Bass; Brussels-based curator Louis-Philippe Van Eeckhoutte; Athlyn Fitz-James, co-founder of Benefactor Travel; self-described “Wet Paint fan” Cullen McAndrews; collector and patron Scott Lorinsky; Alejandro Jassan, associate director of public relations for Lehmann Maupin; artist Don Voisine; Jessica Palinski, who is a curatorial project assistant at the Whitney working on the Andy Warhol Film Project; Susan Inglett, the owner of Susan Inglett Gallery; and Stephen Faught, the archivist and press liaison at Miguel Abreu Gallery. A hearty congrats to the winners!

Here’s this week’s quiz: What is this artwork, and who owns it?

Send guesses to [email protected]. Winners get hats, which are real and will arrive at some point, plus instant gratification!



Smiles, a new picture book by Alex Da Corte. Photo courtesy American Art Catalogues.

American Art Catalogues, the beloved downtown art book concern, will be publishing “SMILES,” a limited edition Alex Da Corte book based on a prop on Mister Rogers’s Neighborhood, long a source of inspiration to Da Corte … The anonymous geniuses who run the Dimes Square film world Instagram account The Ion Pack went on Chris Black and Jason Stewart’s essential podcast How Long Gone, and it’s the crossover content we need … Anna Weyant will have a solo show at Blum & Poe’s Los Angeles space next month … Danny Baez, the former Gavin Brown’s Enterprise director who also founded the San Juan Puerto Rico art fair MECA, has opened his own gallery—it’s called Regular Normal, and it’s on the BoweryGem, the Forsythe Street haute cuisine spot run by art world-adjacent superstar chef Flynn McGarry, will reopen next week, offering a la carte dinners for the first time … More and more people are now on Clubhouse and honestly it’s all a bit much, but cutting through the nonsense is Paint Talk, a weekly Friday chat that discusses each week’s edition of Wet Paint, featuring a freewheeling conversation between Benjamin Godsill, the advisor and founder of Curatorial Services, and yours truly—tune in today at 2:00 p.m. EST



The sign outside Carbone Miami. Photo courtesy Major Food Group.

Aby Rosen at the new Carbone Miami, the Florida outpost of the red sauce joint with art curated by Vito Schnabel that’s quickly become the hottest restaurant on Collins Avenue—Rosen was sitting outside near music legend Clive Davis, publisher Jason Binn, collector David Simkins, and, in his custom chef’s whites, maestro Mario Carbone, who has taken his talents to South Beach *** Gutes Guterman and Claire Banse, the dynamic duo behind the print newspaper media empire that is The Drunken Canal, sitting outside at Lucien, as everyone inside the restaurant flipped through the must-read rag *** Second Daughter Ella Emhoff at Dr. Clark, taking in the fabulous Hokkaido cuisine at a table outside with GQ editor Samuel Hine ***



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