Wet Paint: Ivanka Trump Eyes Return to the New York Gallery Scene, Art-World Hub Indochine Reopens, & More Juicy Art-World Gossip

What East Village gallery is opening an outpost in LA for the winter? Who canvassed for Joe Biden in Pennsylvania? Read on for answers.

Ivanka Trump attends the 2009 Whitney Contemporaries Art Party And Auction at Skylight on June 17, 2009 in New York City. Photo by Andrew H. Walker/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].



A few years ago, the art world had no real problem with the designer and socialite Ivanka Trump. In the time that she spent in our milieu, Ivanka collected work by Alex Israel, Dan Colen, Nate Lowman, and Harmony Korine. She went to openings at Gagosian, hosted parties with Sotheby’s, attended charity galas at the Met and the Whitney, and socialized frequently with the likes of Emmanuel Di Donna and the Acquavella kids. Ivanka seemed to actually like contemporary art—she and husband Jared Kushner arrived early to auction previews at Phillips, with the kids in strollers, to diligently go through evening and day sale material and pick out what to buy.

Ivanka Trump speaks during a campaign event for her father on October 27, 2020 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Ivanka Trump speaks during a campaign event for her father on October 27, 2020 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Ivanka has not been hobnobbing on the gallery circuit recently, given the fact that she’s been working in the White House as an advisor to her father, President Donald Trump. But with Joe Biden looking to clinch the presidency, Ivanka may soon be out of a job. And Wet Paint hears that she’s planning a return to New York to resume her art-collecting lifestyle. Sources said Ivanka has been low-key maintaining her connection to art-world power brokers, and as soon as she ditches the District of Columbia for the old pad she owns with Kushner at Trump Park Avenue in Manhattan, she’ll beg to be back on the scene.

Even during the White House years, Ivanka knew this scenario could play out, and has prepared by frequently dipping her toe back into art-world society. Close confidants of the first daughter include Tico and Colby Mugrabi, who went to the Kushner-Trump wedding anniversary at Camp David in late 2019. She’s also welcomed gallery owners such as Pace president Marc Glimcher to the White House—a spokesperson for Pace confirmed Glimcher’s meet-and-greet with Ivanka, saying: “Marc has participated in a number of conversations across both sides of the aisle to bring attention to possible solutions to the economic crisis facing the industry.” And in addition to allies such as the Di Donnas and the Acquavellas (longtime pals from the Palm Beach circuit), sources said that many of the more prominent dealers would not think twice about selling Jared and Ivanka works, even if they wouldn’t want to be buddy-buddy with the couple in public.

Ivanka at the museum. Photo courtesy Instagram.

While her Instagram feed has become little more than a spree of MAGA propaganda, Ivanka still keeps up with a number of art-world figures by following them on the platform. Among those who appear on Ivanka’s feed are advisor Sandy Heller, MOCA director Klaus Biesenbach, former Christie’s rainmaker Loïc Gouzer, and Lévy Gorvy co-founder Brett Gorvy. (She also follows Artnet. Hi, Ivanka!)

Still, sources say it’s difficult to imagine the former first daughter easily sliding back into a social scene populated by those vociferously opposed to the policies she’s supported. In 2017, the art world organized a series of social media campaigns, protests, and performative actions under the banner Dear Ivanka, urging her to push back against her father’s hateful and divisive platform. That, um, did not work. In the ensuing years, Ivanka doubled down on an arch-conservative agenda. Last week, the woman many once knew as a liberal democrat described herself as “unapologetically pro-life.”

Ivanka Trump presenting the number of New Yorkers and Americans who have died due to Covid-19. Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images.

Ivanka Trump “presenting” the number of New Yorkers and Americans who have died due to COVID-19. Photo by Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images.

Several sources I spoke with described Ivanka and her husband as universally reviled by the art-world lever-pullers they once considered cheek-kiss acquaintances. One dealer who previously sold work to Ivanka told me they vowed to never sell to her again. Alex Da Corte asked her to take work down from her wall, and Richard Prince went a step further, fully disowning a work of his depicting Ivanka, essentially stripping it of its value. Others indicated that, at least for the first year or two of the post-Trump reality, the couple would be heckled out of any of the high-end galleries they once frequented. One source said that no one is going to welcome Ivanka Trump back to the art world except for Tico Mugrabi. May the two of them live happily ever after.

A peek inside the Kushner-Trump home, with an Alex Israel work in the background. Photo courtesy Instagram.

A peek inside the Kushner-Trump home, with an Alex Israel work in the background. Photo courtesy Instagram.

Ivanka Trump did not respond to a request for comment, and neither did Jared Kushner.



Indochine. Photo courtesy Zagat.

Indochine. Photo courtesy Zagat.

Perhaps the most legendary art restaurant of them all has been missing in action since March. That’s right, we’re talking about Indochine, the classic Astor Place-adjacent spot that serves spring rolls by evening and debauchery by late night. And even though the Odeon has its fries back, Altro Paradiso is going strong into the fall, and the flank of outdoor tables at Lucien is consistently stuffed with models and artists, there’s been an Indochine-sized void in the boîte-hopping social calendar during mid-COVID New York.

Indochine. Photo courtesy Zagat.

Indochine. Photo courtesy Zagat.

Well, thankfully that will be rectified next week, as Wet Paint can reveal that despite rumblings of its demise, Indochine is back and better than ever. It will seat its first customers in months this coming Tuesday, for indoor and outdoor dining. Expect the crowd to once again be a mix of locals, movie stars, no-longer-starving artists, and the occasional spat of Euro trash. A perfect crowd!

We’ll once again will be able to sit and sip sweet martinis while munching on spicy crunchy shrimp cozied up inside one of the iconic green booths.

Norman Mailer Eating Dinner at Indochine. Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images.

Norman Mailer Eating Dinner at Indochine. Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images.


Congrats to the many, many people who correctly noted that last week’s quiz was a screen shot from the new Sofia Coppola movie On the Rocks, which features Bill Murray as an Upper East Side art dealer who desperately wants the Cy Twombly painting Untitled (Rome) (1961) peeking out at the top on the clip. In real life, it’s  owned by Edythe and Eli Broad, who bought it at Sotheby’s in 2004. We had a lot of winners, so we’re going to once again list the first respondents. I know that is frustrating for the others who got it right, but it pays to be speedy!

Here are the winners: Former Gagosian and Hauser & Wirth staffer Emily Matson; Michael Lee, the proprietor of Lee Gallery in Winchester, Massachusetts; the writer and critic Adam Robb; Kayne Griffin Corcoran associate director Pejman Shojaei; Leslie Bergmann, assistant appraiser at Jacqueline Silver & Associates; Bay Area artist and musician Darling Bonnie; Pace Gallery research associate Fiona Laugharn; Upper East Side dealer Simon Capstick-Dale; and former Christie’s intern and self-described “Wet Paint fan” Cullen McAndrews. Congrats to all the winners!

On to this week’s quiz. Name the artist who made the painting in the top left and the painting’s owner!

Winners will receive the hats that are now so in demand that Wet Paint readers have begun to offer funds to produce them. And eternal glory! Email guesses to [email protected].



Half Gallery in the East Village. Photo courtesy EV Grieve.

Bill Powers is expanding Half Gallery to Los Angeles for the winter, and will occupy a space in Little Ethiopia from January to April—the first show will be of work by Daniel Heidkamp and Hiejin Yoo—while keeping the New York space open on Avenue B and 4th Street … London galleries came together to have one last art crawl night before the mandatory closures to curb the spread of COVID … sources told us the Cancel Art Galleries Instagram account is run by a certain New York dealer, but the account and dealer (mentioned in a previous version of this column) have denied such authorship, while others indicated a different person may be behind it, so the search continues … Desert X will go ahead as planned despite the pandemic; the Coachella Valley exhibition founded by Neville Wakefield will open February 6 …



A sign at the Biden campaign headquarters in North Philadelphia. Photo courtesy Nate Freeman.

A number of art-world luminaries in Philadelphia canvassing for Joe Biden, including David Zwirner director Thor Shannon, artist Rirkrit Tiravanija, collector Paul Judelson, writer Allese Thomson, artist Kon Trubkovich, advisor Benjamin Godsill, architect Rafael de Cárdenas, as well as yours truly *** Dia director Jessica Morgan checking out the “Art Club2000” show at Artists Space, perhaps the best show in town—a masterfully orchestrated look at the ’90s provocateurs and worth a visit for the vitrines alone, stuffed with ephemera one could pour over for hours *** Green River Projects co-founder Aaron Aujla installing a new work depicting a cool-looking lamb at Dr. Clark, the Chinatown restaurant where the firm did all the bonkers-good wood-washed interior design *** John Holland, one half of the band Salem (which has a stupendously metal new album out), incarcerated at the Grand Traverse County Correctional Facility in Michigan on drug charges *** A number of artists, gallery owners, and art writers watching returns on election night at Lucien *** Lindsay Lohan dropping a super embarrassing like on a Tiffany Trump Instagram, pointed out to us by New Yorker staff writer Naomi Fry ***


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