Wet Paint: Avery Singer Is Officially the World’s Priciest Millennial Artist, Frieze VIPs Crash the Oscars, & More Juicy Art-World Gossip

What fashion bigwig is selling his entire collection? What mega-star got a personal tour of Jeffrey Deitch's new show? Read on for answers.

Avery Singer, Jordan, a work that made its debut in Hauser and Wirth's booth at Frieze Los Angeles in 2020. © Avery Singer. Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth, Kraupa-Tuskany Ziedler, Berlin.

Every Thursday afternoon, 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].



Today on the West Coast, VIP card-carrying collectors are streaming into Paramount Pictures Studio and gushing over the offerings at Frieze Los Angeles. It’s clear that the event’s second edition has injected a jolt of Tinseltown razzle-dazzle into the art-fair circuit. And if anyone was hesitant to imagine that a Hollywood backlot could host a globally important fair, they would be proven wrong after seeing dealers pull out all the stops this year: Gagosian treated VIPs to a booth with a full-scale Richard Prince car sculpture and Chris Burden’s LAPD Uniform (1993), while Pace and Kayne Griffin Corcoran teamed up for a bravura presentation of that master conjurer of California light, James Turrell. But those seeking the hottest work in Hollywood should make a beeline for the booth of Hauser & Wirth, which has on view three works by Avery Singer, the 32-year-old wunderkind who emerged as the star of last year’s Venice Biennale. She signed with Hauser in December, after a courting period from all the mega-galleries that included rumors of rides on helicopters to the Hamptons and a $1 million signing bonus (both of which Hauser staunchly deny).

Artist Avery Singer © Avery Singer Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth, Kraupa Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin

Artist Avery Singer © Avery Singer. Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth, Kraupa Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin.

While the gallery maintains no cash was offered up front, there’s no doubt joining the Swiss mega-biz will make Singer’s already in-demand and high-priced works harder to get (and more expensive). But even speculators may not have seen them getting this pricey: The largest of the paintings at Frieze costs just under $500,000, while the smaller two are $420,000, and in addition to the three in the booth, there’s another in a private viewing room at the gallery’s downtown LA space.

A for-your-eyes-only preview sent to tip-top advisors and collectors stated that “the artist has asked that all four [works] go to institutions”—and, according to sources, Hauser already has the new owners lined up to pledge the paintings as promised gifts.

The price point is a serious uptick from just two years ago, when Singer had her first (and only) solo show with Gavin Brown’s enterprise and works topped out at $95,000, with smaller ones available for just $40,000. That means that Singer’s primary prices have increased more than 400 percent since 2018 (although, to be fair, they remain lower than her auction record of $735,000). The price increase has made her the world’s most expensive millennial artist, beating out Turner Prize-winner Oscar Murillo, whose new works cost $450,000 from David Zwirner. And with the sale of the four works here in La La Land, Singer’s cut could reach $1 million… exactly what that apocryphal signing bonus was supposed to be. That’s showbiz, baby!



Brad Pitt, who the art world frantically claims as its own, backstage at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Richard Harbaugh - Handout/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images)

Brad Pitt, who the art world frantically claims as its own, backstage at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Richard Harbaugh – Handout/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images)

The Sunday night before a major art fair is usually a somewhat staid state of affairs, with everyone resting up before a week of nonstop openings, dinners, and parties. Not so this year in Los Angeles, as the Sunday before the Frieze was also… Oscar Sunday, the Super Bowl Sunday of celluloid. And so the art world got all dressed up and hit the party circuit. Larry Gagosian started the evening at the annual Vanity Fair viewing dinner, where he completed perhaps the most intriguing quadfecta of the evening: Joan Collins, Tom Ford, and Monica Lewinsky, all huddled around a table with Larry. Meanwhile, collector Elton John had his annual gala, and afterward, Jumex juice heir Eugenio López led revelers to his masterpiece-filled Bel Air manse for a banger that went into the wee hours. Later, the team behind Best Picture-winner “Parasite” threw a raucous Soho House bash to celebrate its surprise victory. As the global k-pop sensation A.C.E. entertained the crowd with increasingly elaborate dance routines, Hauser & Wirth LA director Graham Steele looked on and took pictures, a natty tux-clad Alex Israel—in sunglasses at night, as always—popped in on his way to Madonna manager Guy Oseary’s ultra-exclusive house party, and MOCA director Klaus Biesenbach chatted with Miky Lee, the Samsung heiress who produced “Parasite” and has done much to hype independent Korean cinema around the world. The director of the hour, Bong Joon-Ho—whose film “The Host” graced the cover of Artforum in 2007—arrived around 12:45 a.m. alongside the cast, all of them clutching their golden statuettes. Remember how, when Bong accepted the Best Director trophy, he said he would be “drinking until the morning”? Let’s just say that, yes, that did indeed appear to be the case.



Andy Spade—the designer who co-founded Kate Spade with his late wife, who died by suicide in 2018—has begun to offload his collection, a large sea of stuff studded with some serious gems. A PDF with hundreds of works has been circulating among advisors and collectors, with items on offer by the likes of James Nares, Roe Ethridge, Donald Baechler, Christopher Knowles, Spencer Sweeney, Hanna Liden, and many others. The PDF also reveals how much Spade paid for the works at the time, displaying his knack for buying hot artists early. For instance, it was very smart to pick up Genieve Figgis’s Royal Friends (2014) from the East Hampton gallery Harper’s Books in the summer of 2014. Spade paid $8,500 then, and could certainly sell it for much more now. Lager works by Figgis have sold for more than $300,000 at auction, and in December, a work of similar size to Spade’s was offered in Artnet News columnist Kenny Schachter’s The Hoarder Sale at Sotheby’s. Estimated to sell for $5,000 to $8,000, it ended up fetching nearly $70,000.



You know who has a very, um, interesting social media presence these days? Stella Schnabel, the second eldest daughter of Julian, erstwhile painter and actor, Lucien habitué, and current proprietress of a private Fort Greene boutique selling, per the store’s own Instagram account, “Objects Arts Antiques Custom Furniture.” Here’s an Instagram story she sent out last week from her personal account to the 10,000 followers of @stella_stellina__, in which she tagged her sister Lola Schnabel, her brother Vito Schnabel, her mother Jacqueline Schnabel, and Nina Clemente, the daughter of Francesco Clemente. The photo of Jacqueline and Nina’s mother, Alba, has since disappeared on Instagram. But it lives on in screenshots making the rounds among art-world denizens who can’t quite understand what would possess someone to share this image with a tongue-in-cheek emoji in the year 2020.

Remember, kids: Instagram stories might be temporary, but there’s no hiding on the internet.



Can you name the artist who made this work, which doubles as a usable table? What about the work’s owner and its current location?

As per usual, the first correct responder gets fame and glory via a shout-out in next week’s Wet Paint. Speaking of which, congratulations to last week’s Pop Quiz winner… Lucas Casso!



LA art machers are touting LAXART founder Lauri Firstenberg as a hot candidate to take over Frieze Los Angeles, as current director Bettina Korek will depart following this edition to become CEO of the Serpentine Galleries in London … the Thursday night Frieze party circuit includes big-budget soirées for Los Angeles powerhouse Kayne Griffin Corcoran, alongside Pace, at the San Vicente Bungalows—where the performer is not Kanye West, contra widespread rumors—David Zwirner at Sunset Tower, and the annual White Cube blowout at the Chateau MarmontEmma Fernberger, formerly the director of the experimental Artist/City program at Bortolami, has taken a new gig as director at Eva Presenhuber’s New York space … art prankster extraordinaire Eric Doeringer has made replicas of 30 works owned by the Broad for a booth co-run by Joel Mesler‘s Rental Gallery and A Hug From The Art World at the second annual Felix LA in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The presentation is called, winningly, “The Brode.”



*** Perry Rubenstein, the dealer-turned-jailbird who served time after shirking CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz on a deal for a Richard Prince work, checking out Gagosian’s new exhibition of work by none other than… Richard Prince! *** Jeffrey Deitch giving Miley Cyrus a guided tour of his gallery’s new show, “All Of Them Witches,” curated by Dan Nadel and Laurie Simmons *** Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, taking his customary perch directly next to Larry Gagosian at the mega-dealer’s dinner for Richard Prince at Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills last Thursday *** artist Susan Cianciolo walking as a model in the Eckhaus Latta show at the South Street Seaport in New York during Fashion Week *** Gloria Gaynor performing at the amfAR gala in Mexico City during Zona Maco, held at a house where, in the ’80s, a powerful government couple were murdered when their grandson, angry over a lack of inheritance, hacked them to death with a machete *** Jennifer Aniston at a Frieze Week fête at the home of West Wing actress Mary McCormack and her husband, director Michael Morris, hosted by London dealer Victoria Miro *** architect Kulapat Yantrasast—whose firm wHY is responsible for designing the tents that house all three Frieze fairs—and artists Jon Rafman and Calvin Marcus at a birthday party for the artist Ben Wolf Noam, thrown by Clearing gallery at the Echo Park art-word hangout El Prado *** Lorna Simpson, Thelma Golden, and Beth Rudin DeWoody at the opening of Arcmanoro Niles‘s show at UTA Artist Space in Beverly Hills.



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