Wet Paint: Art Dealer’s Daughter Pitches Woo on ‘The Bachelor,’ Eight-Figure Diebenkorn Goes to Palm Beach, & More Art-World Gossip
What gallery scooped up an ex-Gavin Brown artist? What bar's become the go-to art boite in freezing New York? 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]
WILL YOU ACCEPT THIS ART WORLD-ADJACENT CONTESTANT?
Slow news week, right?
So let’s talk about The Bachelor, the massively popular reality TV show that, over the course of more than two decades, has cut to the dark heart of the American desire for companionship.
The new season premiered Monday, which seems approximately three months ago, and over the course of 90 minutes, 32 bachelorettes made their opening arguments for a proposal in front of the bachelor, Matt James, and to viewers across this broken nation. (It’s certainly notable that James is the first Black Bachelor; it only took 24 seasons.) Of those 32 women hoping to make it all the way to the end, one made a very distinct entrance: Kit Keenan, who rode in on a Bentley.
“The limo was giving me ride-share vibes,” she said by way of explanation for the presence of a car that costs more than an Ivy League education. “I love being the center of attention.”
Keenan, it turns out, is the first person to enter The Bachelor‘s universe with clear ties to the art world. Just 21, she’s spent her whole life on the New York gallery scene, thanks to her mother, the fashion designer Cynthia Rowley, and her longtime step-father, Bill Powers, the founder of Half Gallery, which arrived in the East Village last February after years on the Upper East Side. Keenan’s apparel brand, KIT, has collaborated with artists Richard Prince, Vaughn Spann, and Mark Grotjahn. She often brings her 80,000 Instagram followers into her the West Village home, pointing out works by Rene Ricard, Anna Park, and more.
But in the season premiere, Keenan didn’t get much of a chance to talk to our Bachelor about contemporary art—or much of anything at all. After handing James a snow globe of New York to symbolize their shared hometown, Kit was interrupted by Victoria, the founder of a spray-tanning company who arrived aloft on a throne carried by four guys, tiara on head, insisting on being called “Queen Victoria.”
“Excuse me princess, but the queen is here,” Victoria said to Kit and Matt, crashing their one-on-one moment.
“Calling me princess, wow, OK,” Keenan said in the confession booth later. “I see how this is going to be.”
It’s way too early to say how far Kit is going to get in what host Chris Harrison promised will be “a year full of drama.” We’ll be watching.
DIEBENKORN FIREPOWER HITS PALM BEACH
Palm Beach sure is a nice place to be these days—well, anywhere on Palm Beach that isn’t Mar-a-Lago, where a mask-less New Year’s Eve party looked like a rampaging superspreader event and threatened a shutdown of the entire club. Though maybe this week is… not the best time to get spotted there anyway?
Elsewhere on the privileged slip of an island that’s home to more than 40 billionaires is the hottest new gallery scene in the country, where Pace, Acquavella, Paula Cooper, Lehmann Maupin, and White Cube have all signed up for pop-up spaces.
The most recent arrival is Lévy Gorvy, which has taken a space in the Royal Poinciana Plaza, home to many of the new galleries, as well as the southernmost outpost of beloved tiny expensive sandwich purveyor Sant Ambroeus.
“There is an extraordinary collector group here, and I’m not saying that people are being cavalier, but people are a little bit less stressed than they seem to be in main cities,” Brett Gorvy told me over the phone while walking into his new gallery in an open-air mall. “To have an engagement face to face, that’s what I’ve missed really.”
The gallery is bringing perhaps the most heavy-duty artwork seen so far in this regal mall blocks away from The Breakers. In May 2018, Gorvy was on his cell phone with a client when he bought Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park #126 (1984) for $23.9 million at Christie’s, smashing previous records for the artist. Now, that work is coming to his gallery’s Palm Beach space, indicating that there’s enough appetite for masterpieces that one of the snowbird collectors in town could drop eight figures on a painting.
“It’s an incredibly rare work—the majority of the Ocean Parks are in museums, the majority of Ocean Parks of this quality are untouchable,” Gorvy said.
While declining to name the exact price, Gorvy implied they were offering it for well over than what was paid, saying that Diebenkorn’s market has “become stronger and better” since 2018 and that the record-breaker at Christie’s was “the breakout price.”
You’ve had a few extra weeks to get this Pop Quiz, but it still stumped all but three of you! The painting was a remarkable one by Elizabeth Peyton, showing a young Spencer Sweeney in a Dark Side of the Moon baseball cap. It’s owned by Don and Mera Rubell, and is currently on view in the Miami museum that bears their name.
Here are the winners: Cyprien David, exhibition coordinator at Gagosian, Geneva; Andrew Reed, an assistant at David Zwirner; and the FLAG Art Foundation assistant Delaney Keenan. Congrats to the winners! And you know what that means: Wet Paint hats!
Here’s this week’s quiz: name the artist who made the work in the back left, and the owner whose shoulder can be seen here.
Send guesses to [email protected] Winners get eternal glory and, of course, a hat, which I think we’ll reveal very soon!
Art Basel’s flagship fair in Basel is still scheduled to happen in June, but some collectors are not taking any chances and booking rooms at the Grand Hotel Trois Rois for the second week of September, just in case it gets pushed again … Jonathan Horowitz, who for years was in the stable of Gavin Brown’s Enterprise but was not brought on board to Gladstone Gallery after Brown joined that outfit last summer, will now show with Salon 94 … Uniqlo is set to unveil a new collection featuring the work of the late artist Jason Polan, a prolific illustrator who once tried to sketch every work of art in the collection of MoMA …
Ariel Pink—the proto-troll art-rocker who once showed up to play a Doug Aitken party covered in chocolate screaming “merde! merde!”—at the Trump march Wednesday, along with fellow rocker John Maus *** Skater and young downtown icon Sean Pablo at Fanelli’s, the ancient SoHo eatery that’s become a freezing New York’s see-and-be-seen spot as swankier outfits shut their doors until indoor dining returns *** David Fierman at his Henry Street gallery Wednesday, going ahead with the opening of a wonderful installation by Kelly Jazvac in the face of an attempted coup in Washington, DC earlier that day *** Senator-elect Jon Ossoff trying really, really hard to get filmmaker and Tom Sachs collaborator Casey Neistat to have lunch with him (seven years ago) ***
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