Wet Paint: A Powerful New York Gallery Duo Splits, Berlin’s Art Scene Recoils at Publisher’s Leaked Email, & More Juicy Art-World Gossip
Which art gallery is taking over a legendary nightclub? Which 2021 fair is already pushed back months? 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].
LUXEMBOURG AND NOT DAYAN
When Daniella Luxembourg and Amalia Dayan joined forces to open a New York gallery together in 2009, it was a winning merger of two art-world powerhouses from different generations. Luxembourg is 69, Dayan is 47; both have distinguished Israeli pedigrees.
After spending her 20s in high-profile positions at museums in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and then co-founding Sotheby’s Israel, Luxembourg teamed up with Simon de Pury and got her name on the door at the auction house Phillips, de Pury, and Luxembourg. Dayan was a celebrity from birth in her home country (her grandfather is the legendary Israeli military leader Moshe Dayan, one of the great eyepatch-clad dudes in history) and, after arriving in New York for grad school in 1997, became an integral part of the ascendant Deitch Projects. She then moved on to Gagosian before leaving—with the boss’s blessing—to start a gallery in 2005 with fellow Gogo alumna Stefania Bortolami. Later that decade, she teamed up with Luxembourg.
When Luxembourg and Dayan opened in an Upper East Side townhouse in 2009, the programming reflected its owners’ intergenerational tastes in a thrilling way. After a fierce one-two opening salvo—shows of work by Marcel Duchamp and Alberto Burri—Luxembourg and Dayan cooked up a third exhibition that sent shockwaves though the tony neighborhood: a display of Jeff Koons’s “Made in Heaven” paintings, the gigantic renderings of Koons in flagrante delicto with his then-wife, the Italian porn star and politician Ilona Staller. The paintings scandalized the New York art scene in 1991.
Clearly, the gallery was a hit.
Now, the duo is no longer. Wet Paint has learned that Amalia Dayan has decided to leave the enterprise, and it will henceforth be known as Luxembourg + Co., co-run by Daniella and her daughter, Alma Luxembourg, who since 2011 has been a partner at the gallery. The venture will close its permanent space in New York and will instead stage special projects at architectural landmarks throughout the city. The London gallery, on Savile Row, will remain.
According to both co-founders, the split is an amicable one.
“I know change is often perceived as a sign of problems, but I think that it is rather an expression of finding the best way to evolve,” Luxembourg said. “As Duchamp (who could not bear stagnation) so wonderfully said once: ‘There is no solution because there is no problem.’”
Dayan was similarly sunny about the departure. “The years Daniella, Alma, and I spent working together were filled with creative exchange of ideas, great business, and a very unique friendship,” she said. “I am proud of the program we built together bridging modern masters and contemporary art—from a Surrealist Giacometti exhibition to a maximalist show by Bjarne Melgaard—under the same roof.”
When the art world gets back to running on all cylinders, Luxembourg + Co. will maintain its private dealership capacities alongside public-facing exhibitions on both sides of the pond. Meanwhile, the second show at South Etna—the Montauk space Dayan established this summer with her husband, collector and gallerist Adam Lindemann—opened its second exhibition on Thursday.
SLEEK MAG CEO SENDS NOT-SO-SLICK EMAIL
Come next week, Berlin Art Week will run full speed ahead despite the threat of a second wave of infections in Europe. But that devotion to programming might take second billing to another buzz around the city. That’s right: There’s a scandal brewing among Berlin’s art-lit cognoscenti, and it’s all playing out on Instagram. On Tuesday, the writer Benoît Loiseau posted a screenshot of an email that Berlin-based Sleek magazine editor Christian Bracht sent him in May 2019, while Loiseau was editor of the magazine’s website. “Hello Benoit, our website is full of articles about drag queens, queer community Brazil & Arabs and some other weird stuff,” the email read. “Basically this is not the direction SLEEK is going to. Can we quickly change this! Thanks.”
Loiseau said he resigned in response to the email and the decision to replace Black models on the cover with a white male model. More than a year later, he made the email public, he said, to expose what he feels is hypocrisy on the part of Sleek, which recently launched a pro-inclusivity podcast under the same leadership that had complained privately about the amount of inclusiveness on his magazine’s homepage. In an email to Wet Paint, Loiseau said that he has since heard from a number of former Sleek employees and freelancers who shared similar experiences, which were evident in messages reviewed by Wet Paint.
“Judging from the sudden proliferation of ‘pro-diversity’ content across @Sleekmag’s platforms, I take it they’ve reconsidered the ‘direction’ they so eloquently described in this email I received last year—on the eve of Pride month—during my stint as digital editor,” Loiseau said on Instagram. He suggested that those who worked with Sleek and made profits from that work could make a donation to the Berlin-based Black and POC queer organization GLADT e.V.
On Tuesday, Bracht issued a statement, saying, “I take full responsibility and apologize profusely for any harm or offense caused by irresponsible mis-phrasings or insensitive, rushed communication.”
The clue in the last Pop Quiz threw a few of you for a loop. Many guessed that it was Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Danny Rosen—nice work on that front, readers. But, alas, it is not owned by one of the more high-profile Basquiat collectors many of you mentioned: Peter Brant, Bernard Arnault, Johnny Depp, people like that. It is owned by the activist investor Gregg Hymowitz, who bought it at Christie’s in May 2013. Two guessers got it right: Britte Geijer, who is assistant director at Los Angeles gallery Kayne Griffin Corcoran; and Scott Nussbaum, head of 20th century and contemporary art at Phillips New York. Congrats to the winners!
Here’s this week’s clue: Name the 2019 TV show playing here, and the artist who made the painting in the background.
Email guesses to [email protected]. Winners get bumped to the front of the line for the Wet Paint merch drop—which is actually coming soon. Watch this space.
Someone is selling a hastily sketched birthday card that KAWS scribbled in 2011, looking to squeeze $5,000 out of a gift by consigning it to Hindman Auctions in Chicago—according to the personal inscription, the seller’s name is Michael and he was born on November 15 (hat tip to Greg Allen) … Vogue issued a new caption after the September issue featured an artwork commissioned from Eric N. Mack, only to have the magazine feature the work but hide Mack’s misspelled name in the crease and refer to his artwork as “set design”—the snub brewed a torrent of angry Instagrams before the fashion bible fixed the attribution online … Writer and critic Dean Kissick is opening an exhibition he’s calling “Biennale 2020” at the beloved West Village park on West 11th Street and Bleecker Street at 7 p.m. today, featuring artists Amalia Ulman, Matt Hilvers, Precious Okoyomon, and Jacky Silvers … Emma Fernberger, the beloved former director at Bortolami, is the new director of Ross+Kramer, which will move into a hallowed space on 27th Street: the former home of legendary nightclub Bungalow 8 … Lehmann Maupin now represents Arcmanoro Niles, who was previously on the roster at Lower East Side staple Rachel Uffner Gallery … Canal Street shop Charles Moffett announced its first artist roster, which includes Lily Stockman and Kenny Rivero … FIAC is quietly asking its exhibitors and VIPs if they plan to come to Paris next month for the fair in an 11th-hour attempt to assess whether the show should go on … Zona Maco has moved its fair from February to late April, indicating that big-tent expos in North America are probably not opening until well into 2021 … Yoshitomo Nara designed the artwork for the new Yo La Tengo covers album, prompting Takashi Murakami to come out in the Instagram comments as a Yo La fan, too …
*** Richard Prince planting a batch of spicy microgreen seeds from the famed One Gun Ranch in Malibu *** Bella Hadid dining alfresco at Lucien last Friday *** A managed crew of safely distanced mask-wearing gallery-goers—including artist Cecily Brown and dealer Leo Fitzpatrick—checking out the first cross-neighborhood spree of openings since lockdown began, at Lower East Side spots such as 56 Henry, Lyles & King, JTT, and Foxy Production *** Lucien Smith and Stefan Simchowitz going blow-to-blow in Instagram comments after Simchowitz mentioned Smith during a talk with Swizz Beatz on the ultra-exclusive invite-only social network Clubhouse *** UFC president—and mondo Trump supporter—Dana White speaking to the Republican National Convention in front of Mel Bochner’s Head Honcho ***
Follow Artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.