Wet Paint: Inside the Trouble That Sank Frieze LA 2021, Zwirner to Open Gallery in Hollywood, & More Juicy Art-World Gossip

Which power curator departed from a major LA museum? What big art-slash-politics couple got turned away at a SoHo boite? Read on for answers.

Frieze Los Angeles at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. Photograph by Casey Kelbaugh.
Frieze Los Angeles at Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. Photograph by Casey Kelbaugh.

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]

 

FRIEZE’S TINSELTOWN FAIR FELLED BY CITY BRASS

After a year in which fairs got cancelled across the country, Frieze looks like the lone survivor. Come May, the fair company owned by Hollywood behemoth Endeavor will open the first stateside art fair since March 2020 at the Shed, the fancy glass box at Hudson Yards with a terrifyingly expensive retractable door thing. Rules for entry are super strict—vaccine passport or PCR test required for entry—but for those who get in, the highlights are voluminous, as the big galleries are not holding back. David Zwirner will be showing new paintings by Dana Schutz, who shocked the art world by ditching longtime home Petzel for the mega last October. Gagosian is bringing a dual booth of Rachel Feinstein and paintings by Ewa Juszkiewicz, and Acute Art is setting up another baffling AR activation so you can see fake KAWS balloons float around the space on your phone.

But the proceedings will be dampened a bit by the Frieze fair that very much won’t happen—the 2021 edition of Frieze Los Angeles, which was set to go down in July. The fair announced the cancellation last week, but sources tell Wet Paint that the backstory behind the planning of the fair, and its eventual collapse, is way more convoluted than Frieze leadership let on.

Aerial view of the urban skyline of Los Angeles, California. Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.

Aerial view of the urban skyline of Los Angeles, California. Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.

The whole gambit was set up as an unprecedented kind of art expo, the likes of which have never been pulled off. According to sources, galleries were expecting, right up to the announcement, to stage booths not in a Hollywood backlot under a tent, but in a series of rented famous Modernist houses dotting the City of Angels. There would be two galleries per home, and fairgoers would zip through ritzy neighborhoods all day, checking out the booths with the added bonus of real estate porn.

Alas, there were issues from the start. European galleries were slow to sign up given quarantine protocols, and Los Angeles galleries were mad they had to pack up and show at some weird abode when they already had a primo white cube in the city. Plus, VIPs griped that touring the houses would amount to sitting in hours of standstill traffic.

The Richard Neutra VDL II house, a modernist masterpiece, is the type of house Frieze was going to have galleries post up at. That is not happening anymore. Photo by Ann Johansson/Corbis via Getty Images.

The Richard Neutra VDL II house, a modernist masterpiece, is the type of house Frieze was going to have galleries post up at. That is not happening anymore. Photo by Ann Johansson/Corbis via Getty Images.

That is, if collectors were even going to be in town in July—one advisor pointed out that all their West Coast clients will be in Aspen or the Hamptons or Malibu for the month, and the idea of them staying in town to drive around to different locations was laughable.

Eventually, though, the final straw was red tape. The city was hesitant to grant permits to the fair to put booths in the houses, citing issues with parking in residential neighborhoods. They also cited a tax law that restricts retail outlets from selling wares out of buildings zoned for residential use. That’s right: contemporary art concerns get treated like little more than luxury boutiques in the eyes of the tax authorities.

Victoria Siddall, Global Director of Frieze. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images.

Victoria Siddall, Global Director of Frieze. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images.

Meanwhile, galleries and VIPs who spoke to Wet Paint were cautiously optimistic about the new choice of venue for the February 2022 fair. After narrowly avoiding picking The Forum—so far south!—the fair’s directors instead went with 9900 Wilshire Boulevard, a plot of land right next to the Beverly Hilton. So just weeks after the Golden Globes, Frieze will take over the award show’s turf. Book your rooms now.

Frieze reps said they had no comment. 

 

ZWIRNER OFF TO LA LA LAND

David Zwirner at The Bowery Hotel. Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

David Zwirner at The Bowery Hotel. Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Speaking of Los Angeles, sources indicate that another mega-gallerist is finally joining Larry Gagosian and Manuela and Iwan Wirth on the west coast. According to multiple sources, David Zwirner has just signed a lease on a space in Hollywood not far from the mini gallery network anchored by Jeffrey Deitch and Regen Projects.

The dealer’s son Lucas Zwirner was spotted hobnobbing around LA last week, but he’ll stay in New York to oversee operations Gotham-side. Instead, the Los Angeles space will be run by Robert Goff, the veteran dealer who made a name for himself running Goff + Rosenthal in aughts-era Chelsea, and then endured stints at Haunch of Venison and Gladstone Gallery before joining Zwirner.

Robert Goff at an Art In America dinner at Asia De Cuba. Photo by Marc Dimov/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

Robert Goff at an Art In America dinner at Asia De Cuba. Photo by Marc Dimov/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

The news comes just a week after Wet Paint revealed that the new location of Zwirner’s space run by Ebony Haynes would be in Tribeca, which has quickly become the defining gallery district of this young decade. It’s hard to say whether any other gallery has expanded so aggressively during the pandemic era.

As for when Angeleno art lovers can enter the new Zwirner outpost, the empire’s seventh official space—that remains to be seen. The gallery did not respond to a request for comment.

 

MEANWHILE, OUT EAST…

People wearing face masks walk by Main Street on September 30, 2020 in Southampton, New York. - Beach umbrellas are in back garages as temperatures cool, but wealthy New Yorkers are staying in the Hamptons beyond summer, fearful of the pandemic and rising crime in the city. Photo by Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images.

People wearing face masks walk by Main Street on September 30, 2020 in Southampton, New York. Photo by Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images.

Spring is here and it’s almost time once again to ship off to the Hamptons for the season. And thanks to all that manic city-fleeing that went down in 2020, there’s still plenty of resettled gallery folk manning Main Street pop-ups throughout the tony beach towns. Plus, in addition to the slew of blue-chippers that went out east last year, Wet Paint can confirm that Berggruen Gallery will be taking a space in East Hampton, too, at 55 Main Street. The space opens May 14, and the programming will feature Berggruen mainstays such as Diebenkorn and Frankenthaler alongside living artists such as Diana Al-Hadid, John Currin, Beatriz Milhazes, Odili Donald Odita, and Jonas Wood.

Exterior view of South Etna Montauk, featuring hand-painted sign by Julian Schnabel. Courtesy of the artist and South Etna Montauk.

Exterior view of South Etna Montauk, featuring hand-painted sign by Julian Schnabel. Courtesy of the artist and South Etna Montauk.

What’s more, Amalia Dayan and Adam Lindemann are turning their pandemic space South Etna Montauk into a non-profit called the South Etna Montauk Foundation that will promote contemporary art in the easternmost part of the Hamptons, through exhibitions and a residency programThe legendary Lonnie Holley will have the first show, opening in May, and the summer 2021 resident is the rising star Danielle McKinney, who’s set to explode this year. McKinney has a show with the fabulous East Village gallery Fortnight Institute which just opened last Saturday, and she’ll have solo shows later this year at Night Gallery in LA and Marianne Boesky in Aspen.

The Southampton Art Center. Photo courtesy Southampton Art Center.

And even though big-tent affairs like Expo Chicago are being pushed until spring 2022, hell, why not stage some art fairs out in the Hamptons, too? The Hamptons Fine Art Fair is set to go down at the Southampton Arts Center on Jobs Lane over Labor Day weekend. The fair, which is organized by the production company Show Hamptons, founded by East End collector Rick Friedman, has everything from a Sant Ambroeus a block away to a super Disney World-y recreation of Jackson Pollock’s paint-drip-splattered barn studio. I mean, maybe people should just drive to the real one, it’s like a half hour away?

Anyhow, it’s clear that people just want things to go back to normal so, so badly—the HFAF website declares that “in-person art fairs are back!” in a way that sounds kind of like a threat. Sigh. See you at lunch at the Southampton Sant Ambroeus.

 

POP QUIZ

Last week’s clue was a picture of Joel Shapiro’s Untitled (1989) outside of the shiny new Moynihan Train Hall in Manhattan. There is also another Shapiro work installed at the station, Two (2015), and it was loaned by a private collection. But Untitled was a loan courtesy of the artist, facilitated by Empire State Development and Art Agency, Partners. So if you got the right sculpture and said either of those, you’re correct!

Here’s the first 10 that did: collector and patron Scott Lorinsky; David Zwirner’s Michelle Kim; Paula Cooper Gallery director Alexis JohnsonWilliam Schweller, a specialist at Clarke Auction Gallery; Claire de Dobay Rifelj, associate director at Sprüth Magers in Los Angeles; the Los Angeles-based writer Alexandra PechmanPrzemek Pyszczek, the artist and co-host of the Thots on Art podcast; and Brussels-based curator Louis-Philippe Van Eeckhoutte.

Congrats to the winners—hats coming soon!

Here’s this week’s clue. Name the artist of this sketch and its subject.

Send guesses to [email protected]. The first 10 correct responders will get eternal glory and the world’s coolest hats!

 

WE HEAR…

Mia Locks at the Whitney Biennial opening night in 2017. Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Tiffany & Co.

Mia Locks at the Whitney Biennial opening night in 2017. Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Tiffany & Co.

Mia Locks is out at LA MOCA—she joined as senior curator in May 2019 … Gladstone director Alissa Bennett has started another bonkers-genius Instagram account to follow up her masterpiece Regret Counter—this time, it’s Westwood Village Mortuary, a taxonomy of dead celebrity memorabilia being sold by the niche auction house Julien’s Live, including prescriptions starlets such as Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe used to fill at Schwab’s Pharmacy on Sunset Boulevard

The building that once housed Lafayette House. Photo courtesy Cushman & Wakefield.

Lafayette House, the boutique hotel off the Bowery owned by Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode, has closed permanently and the building is for sale for $8 million—sadly, Lafayette House may be best known as the place where Dash Snow died of a heroin overdose … The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture will open in 2022, in a Riverside, California, building designed by master art-world architect Kulapat Yantrasast and his firm wHY …. A very special marriage announcement: filmmaker Eugene Kotlyarenko and musician and curator Sofie Fatouretchi have tied the knot, mazel tov to the happy power couple! … the divisive but never dull artist Mathieu Malouf has a show at Mexico City’s House of Gaga opening April 27, right in the middle of the Zona Maco madness—word is the gallery still has no idea what he’s going to show …

"The Hamptons real estate market is on fire right now as more New Yorkers see fewer reasons to live and work in the city." Photo courtesy the Corcoran Group.

“The Hamptons real estate market is on fire right now as more New Yorkers see fewer reasons to live and work in the city.” Photo courtesy the Corcoran Group.

Succession is filming at the totally wild Hamptons house at 115 Beach Lane in Wainscott, currently on the market for $52 million … 21c Museum Hotels and Artadia are teaming up to give an unrestricted $10,000 grant to artists living and working in any of the cities with that has a 21c hotel, it launches in Louisville this month … Balthazar reopens for breakfast Monday, start your day with the jolt of a power meeting …  Issy Wood released a new single co-produced by Mark Ronson, “Muscle,” and it is a true banger, perhaps even an early song-of-the-summer candidate—and even better, it’s off an EP, “If It’s Any Constellation,” that’s coming out in mid-May …

A screenshot from the video for Issy Wood’s new song Muscle, which was directed by Wood. Screenshot courtesy Zelig Records.

 

SPOTTED

The restaurant Lovely Day, in Nolita. Photo courtesy Lovely Day.

*** Josh Kushner and Karlie Kloss walking up to Soho mainstay Lovely Day at 8:30 on a Saturday looking for a table only to get turned away  *** Superchunk frontman, Merge Records founder, art collector and all-around Durham/Chapel Hill legend Mac McCaughan at the opening of Andrew Kuo’s show at the gallery that is called simply Broadway—others around were GQ editor in chief Will Welch, Cookies co-host Ben Detrick and Broadway founders Joe Cole and Pascal Spengemann ***

 

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Jonah Hill rocking a hat made by Lucien Smith’s non-profit Serving the People and Kyle Miller Yoga *** A swath of the downtown scene at the grand opening of Theta, Jordan Barse’s new Tribeca gallery—it turns out Taylor Swift lives across the street, but sadly wasn’t there. Taylor please check out Jordan’s gallery, honestly you’ll love it ***

The Bode SS/FW 2021 presentation. Photo courtesy Nate Freeman.

*** A number of art and fashion figures being welcomed one at a time into “A Year Off,” an immersive installation installed in a secret SoHo loft that served as a presentation of the Bode Spring/Summer 2021 collection—Emily Bode and Aaron Aujla put together the meticulously cultivated world, a recreated Woodstock-era crash pad full of spot-on period details, in a single day *** Bill Powers at Indochine, which is open again, thank the lord *** Critic Hilton Als and dealer Peter Currie at Cafe Altro Paradiso *** The David Hammons installation Day’s End finally going up at the pier by the Whitney, six years after its conception ***

 

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PARTING SHOT


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