Wet Paint: Colby Mugrabi Turns on President Trump, Beastie Boy Mom Sells $150 Geodes at Sotheby’s, & More Art-World Gossip
What big American art fair is getting pushed from April to September? What shuttered art boîte is about to reopen? Read on for answers.
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]
CAPITOL MOB MAKES MUGRABI MIXED ON TRUMP
It might be impossible to conjure from the vantage point of January 2021, but in 2019, before President Trump was impeached the first time, there were semi-respectable figures who wanted to spend time with the president and his family. On a brisk night toward the end of October 2019, guests arrived at Camp David dressed to the nines, without masks, as the pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 people in the United States was still months away from making landfall. The occasion? Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s 10th wedding anniversary.
Among those in attendance were the Ivanka’s brothers, Eric and Donald, Jr., and Kushner’s brother Josh—though a rep for Josh Kushner’s wife, Karlie Kloss, clarified that Kloss did not attend the festivities as she was attending a birthday celebration for her mother. And as Wet Paint reported last April, members of the art world were there as well. Most prominently, the anniversary brought out longtime Javanka associate Alb
Word was the woodsy rendezvous inspired Tico (heir to one of the most powerful dealer/collector families on earth) and Colby (a former fashion blogger whose father is the Chicago private equity titan John W. “Jay” Jordan II) to start planning a fundraiser for Trump ahead of the 2020 election. Perhaps they could lure their art-world luminary friends to the mega-mansion they built from two adjacent triple-floor apartments on Bleecker Street. After all, the launch of Colby’s brand Minnie Muse in 2017 brought the likes of Jeff Koons, Tony Shafrazi, Aby Rosen, Dasha Zhukova, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Alex Poots, and patriarch Jose Mugrabi to nosh on mediocre hand rolls at the Lobster Club.
But the 2020 election came and went without word of a Trump party chez Mugrabi. And now, that pledge of loyalty has been broken. Trump’s call to his armed followers to storm the US Capitol not only prompted him to get impeached for the second time—it also cost him the support of one of the Mugrabis.
Sources shared with Wet Paint screen shots of two different social media posts that show Colby Mugrabi forcefully going after her hubby’s old pigskin-watching bud. Colby posted to her Instagram a screenshot of the president’s tweet announcing that he won’t attend the inauguration of Joe Biden with her own comment, saying: “Yes, because you’ll be in jail.”
Soon after, she posted an image of a CNN story with the headline: “A congressman got on his knees to pick up trash left after the riot,” alongside an emoji reading, “Super Heroes.” Colby later deleted both posts.
Tico Mugrabi, meanwhile, has made no public comment on the insurrectionist attack.
No matter what, Trump will continue to have at least a tangential role in Mugrabi family matters—Tico is said to be one of the few people who will deal art to the onetime on-the-scene Ivanka and Jared. (Plus, majordomo Jose Mugabi still lives in Trump Tower.)
(Speaking of papas, Jay Jordan—who has given over $100,000 to Republicans in his lifetime but nothing since Trump declared his candidacy in 2015—recently sold his place in Chicago for $19 million and bought a $12 million place on Tangier Avenue in Palm Beach, a 15-minute drive to Mar-A-Lago. In 2017, Jay Jordan flipped a Kerry James Marshall—who does not like seeing his work resold!—that he bought for $750,000 at an MCA Chicago fundraiser, netting $5.04 million.)
Tico and Colby did not respond to a request for comment.
HIP HOP MOM ROLLING STONES AT SOTHEBY’S
Legendary collector Hester Diamond died last February at the age of 91. When her trove of Old Masters goes on the block next week, the collection could bring in as much as $30 million, with a Bernini estimated to sell for $12 million. And there’s one added bonus: Diamond was the mother of Michael Diamond, also known as Mike D of the Beastie Boys. Through some kind of wild osmosis, growing up with works by the Flemish woodcut artist Pieter Coecke van Aelst the Elder could have inspired lyrics such as: “I’m Mike D and I get respect, your cash and your jewelry is what I expect.”
And while the Old Masters are definitely pricey, part two of the sale has a slew of low-cost lots that could be intriguing even to the Beastie Boys fans who aren’t insiders plugged in like their name is Eddie Harris, or so rich they’re eating crazy cheese like you would think they’re from Paris.
For instance, there are bundles of books owned by the Diamond family estimated in the very low three figures—a few titles about the Italian artist Pietro Perugino could set you back as little as $150. Fancy a box of Diamond’s books on contemporary artists such as Bill Viola, Barry X Ball, and Laurie Simmons? It’s estimated at only $300.
But most exciting are the rocks. Hester Diamond collected rocks, lots of rocks, and not the kind of gems Mike D was trying to steal in “Paul Revere.” Many are just pretty-looking regular old stones—apophyllites, pyrites, danburites, stilbites, all the cool rocks basically—and they also have estimates for the not-so-ridiculous price of $150. There’s no reserve. Bidding starts January 22.
A great number of Mets fans knew that last week’s clue was a picture of new ballclub owner Steve Cohen’s glorious Takashi Murakami painting Isle of the Dead (2014), first shown at Gagosian’s 24th Street space in Chelsea. There were more than 10 responders with the correct answer, but in the spirit of good juju for Amazin’s, we’re breaking the rules just this once and listing everyone who sent in the full correct answer. If we win the pennant, you know who to thank.
Those who chimed in correctly were: Chloe Nanshu Yang, assistant at the Hive Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing; Cyprien David, exhibition coordinator at Gagosian, Geneva; Kirby Kane from the consultancy Riggs Cooper Art Partners; Adam Green, founder of Adam Green Art Advisory; Rose Whitwell, gallery assistant at Skarstedt; Emily Markert, who is in curatorial practice at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco; Hunter Umbel, global transactions manager at Lévy Gorvy; Siobhan Donnelly, associate director at Craig F. Starr Gallery; Rachel Sigismondi, account coordinator at Christie’s; the artist Romeo Galactic; ArtEater founder Leslie Ramos; Los Angeles-based writer and editor Jordan Bass; Allison Cannella and Eva Chimento at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art; David Braccia, associate at The Blackstone Group; and Samuel Hine, senior associate editor at GQ and GQ Style. Congrats to all the winners!
Here’s this week’s clue. Name the artist who made this work and its owner.
Winners will at some point get Wet Paint hats. We have it on good authority that the first run is arriving soon, and the design has been heralded by people who truly know this stuff! Email [email protected] with your answers.
Iconic NoHo art boîte Indochine will open its outdoor seating structure next week after a few months of delays, ending the months-long fast of no lychee martinis and spicy shrimp … Ariella Wolens has been named the inaugural Bryant-Taylor Curator at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, coming from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she was associate curator … Andrew Kuo is now represented by Broadway, the Tribeca gallery started by collector Joe Cole and Pascal Spengemann, who was the director at Kuo’s last gallery, Marlborough … The writers of the Gossip Girl reboot are planning to set some scenes in the galley-goer stomping grounds of Dimes Square—perhaps a cameo from a Clandestino bartender is in the works … The Dallas Art Fair has been pushed to September 30, 2021, from its usual April perch—by then it might be safe (or at least… safer?) to sidle up to the bar at the Double Wide … Dr. Clark, the Chinatown artist-thronged hotspot with interiors by Aaron Aujla and uniforms by designer Emily Bode, has added a swell set of new outdoor tables to its already formidable phalanx of heated grill-affixed offerings … NADA is selling a work by Tomoo Gokita in an edition of 40 in partnership with Pace Prints to support its 2021 programming …
*** Gigi Hadid in SoHo, recognized by intrepid critic Dean Kissick even though every inch of her face was covered *** The cognoscenti still descending upon Fanelli’s, with a scrum of artists, dealers, advisors, and writers continuing to depend on one of the last watering holes left standing in SoHo—spotted at various points over the week were dealers Alex Shulan, Alex Adler, George Newall; writers Kaitlin Phillips and Natasha Stagg; and artists such as Honor Titus, Tommy Malekoff, Coco Young, Israel Lund, Sam Jablon, Violet Dennison, and many more ***
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