Wet Paint: Ex-Team Gallery Employees Say It’s Closing Permanently, Inigo’s Hawaiian Flyover, & More Juicy Art-World Gossip

Who scored the first solo museum show in the Hamptons post-lockdown? What's Loic Gouzer offering on his auction app? Read on for answers.

The opening for Ryan McGinley, "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere," at Team Gallery in 2010. Photo by RYAN MCCUNE/Patrick McMullan via 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].



Those re-emerging onto the streets of Soho, strolling in thick heat past boarded-up boutiques and alfresco brunch spots, may stumble upon 83 Grand Street, which since 2006 has been home to the pioneering Team Gallery. Team looms grandly in this young century’s New York cultural lore, as its founder, José Freire, and his crack staff of future Chelsea ringers launched the careers of Ryan McGinley, Cory Arcangel, Banks Violette, Carol Bove, Steven Parrino, and many others.

Packed openings at Team, stuffed with scene kids from across the city, often spilled out onto Grand Street, beers quaffed in public and bodies smashed up against each other, everyone trying to get into what seemed, in that moment, like the only show worth being at.

Jose Freire. Photo courtesy Getty.

And so it looks like we’ve reached the end of an era, as it appears Team, in its current brick-and-mortar form, is coming to an end. Several sources, including a number of ex-employees, said the gallery has closed permanently, months after shutting its doors in March. Freire did not respond to a request for comment.

There is no sign of an exhibition inside the space. The iconic Team sign that long hung over the address, beckoning passersby into the gallery—first visible to the naked eye when passing the sadly departed Lucky Strike on Grand—has been painted over in black.

The operation has less of an online presence than in the past. The @teamgal Instagram now has no reference to the gallery in the bio, just Freire’s name and a link to the Chicago gallery Document, which is offering solidarity prints by Paul Mpagi Sepuya if one gives a minimum donation of $250 to one of the listed organizations. On Thursday, the homepage of the website included a link to an online group show, “The View From My Bedroom,” which featured works by Marilyn Minter, John Miller, and Margaret Lee, among others—but the link was broken and instead led clickers to a very cool picture of Sid Vicious drinking a can of Fanta. (By the end of the day Thursday, the link to the online exhibition was removed.)

The opening for Ryan McGinley, "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere," at Team Gallery in 2010. Photo by RYAN MCCUNE/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

The opening for Ryan McGinley, “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere,” at Team Gallery in 2010. Photo by RYAN MCCUNE/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images.

In December, Wet Paint revealed that several artists claimed they were owed hundreds of thousands of dollars by the gallery. At the time, Team was experiencing a spate of artist defections and staff departures. No doubt any financial troubles were exacerbated by the health crisis and buying slowdown, but as one source mentioned, there’s always time for Freire to re-emerge in a different way following a reinvention. He’s done it before.  


Inigo Philbrick, ©Patrick McMullan Photo by Clint Spaulding/PMC

Inigo Philbrick, © Patrick McMullan Photo by Clint Spaulding/PMC

Inigo Philbrick is currently engaging in a very different kind of jet-setting than he’s used to. Instead of pinballing from one continent to the next, he’s being escorted by federal agents from the remote island of Vanuatu to the tiny US territory of Guam and then to an exquisitely country-fried port of call, the Grady County Jail in Chickasha, Oklahoma.

Don’t think they do bottle service there, my dude! But there’s a missing link in the jailbird’s travel history. In late June, following his departure from Guam, he was briefly parachuted into Hawaii, where he was kept at a prison on the Big Island.

The Federal Detention Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo courtesy Board of Prisons.

Wet Paint was tipped off to the development, then had the distinct pleasure of calling up the the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is delightful. You get this recorded message: “Aloha! If you know the inmate’s extension, please enter it now. Mahalo!”

Unfortunately for Inigo, he is no longer taking in even residual bits of Honolulu air. He left the facility some time after June 22 for Chickasha and now he’s in a state with more cows than people. And in jail. 



Lucien Smith at B-bar in New York City. (Photo by Chance Yeh/Getty Images for Wilhelmina)

When the cloud of infection and economic standstill finally starts to drift away from New York City, don’t expect to see any of the big-shot art dealers hanging around. They’ve all pulled up roots in Chelsea and the Upper East Side and decamped, for at least the summer (if not way longer), to the Hamptons, turning Newtown Lane into a veritable 22nd Street. Hey, you can even eat in restaurants indoors there, if that’s something you absolutely insist upon doing for some reason.

Maybe, you would think, one of those dealers could whip up a quickie museum show for one of their artists at one of the region’s lovely institutions—say, the Parrish Art Museum, which opened in its expansive new Herzog & de Meuron building in 2012.

Parrish Art Museum, Midsummer Party 2014

Parrish Art Museum. Photo: Owen Hoffmann/PatrickMcMullan.com.

But the first Parrish show to be announced since phase three hit isn’t a Hauser & Wirth or Pace artist, but Lucien Smith, who largely abandoned gallery representation to show through his own non-profit, Serving the People. It’s Smith’s first solo museum show ever, and will feature a run of his infamous “rain paintings” that he made in the Hamptons in 2012, dubbed the “Southampton Suite.”

“A lot of people doubted I could get here without a gallery and without playing ball with the art world,” Smith, who lives in Montauk, wrote on Instagram. “But I did.” It’ll open in early August.



Last week’s quiz was tough, though many did correctly identify the artwork. Just trying to keep you on your toes here at the Wet Paint Pop Quiz Sweepstakes Extravaganza. Yes, the protruding end in the image was the pointed tip of Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen‘s Corridor Pin, Blue (1999).

Now it looks familiar, right? Photo courtesy Nate Freeman.

But the owner and location of this particular edition proved difficult. It is not the edition at the artist’s chateau in the Loire Valley, nor is it the edition at the de Young and Legion of Honor Museums in San Francisco. It’s not at the New Orleans Museum of Art, either!

In fact, it is the artist’s proof, and it’s owned by Dallas collector Nancy Nasher and her husband, David J. Haemisegger, and some may remember that it used to be installed at their art mall, NorthPark Center. But it’s not there anymore. Since last summer it’s been installed at the Nasher Museum at Duke University, a place near and dear to your quiz proprietor’s heart.

Two got it correct, so let’s give a hearty round of applause to fellow Duke grad Madeline Lieberberg, and Emily Redfield, appraisals coordinator at Bonhams. Socially distanced drinks on the Wet Paint tab for you both!

Now for this week, get ready, all you guessers and contestants. See the painting on the left? Name the artist and artwork, and the location where it was, until recently, installed. Then, name the precise location of the painting on the right—the artist is unknown—which served as the direct inspiration for the first painting.

Send guesses to [email protected]. Winners will get… oh, you know what you get. Eternal glory! Hall of fame status! Cocktails! Guess away.



Lightning strikes thrice for Loic? Photo courtesy Fair Warning.

Loic Gouzer will be offering Steven Parrino’s Screw Ball (1988)—last seen at Skarstedt’s Parrino retrospective just a year ago—through his one-off auction app, Fair Warning; estimated at $650,000 to $850,000, bidding will start at 5 p.m. Sunday, and don’t be late … See Saw, the all-important gallery-going app, has added a “make an appointment” widget that lets art-starved New Yorkers book slots to see shows as galleries trickle back into the cultural sphere … Michael Nevin, co-founder of the Journal Gallery, organized a Christie’s benefit auction stuffed with works by Rashid Johnson, Cecily Brown, Eddie Martinez, and others, and all funds are going to the amfAR Fund to FIght COVID-19Hugh Hayden, along with Lisson Gallery and Clearing Gallery, has established a pair of fellowships at Columbia University that will pay for one student to get an MFA in sculpture, and another to get a MA in modern and contemporary art history … 



Sad Kith designer. Photo courtesy Instagram.

Kith impresario Ronnie Fieg posing and frowning with Bugs Bunny dolls while announcing a Looney Toons collabo, as a big Andrew Kuo painting looms in the background *** Adam Lindemann celebrating the birth of America with a lobster boil at his Montauk house *** Gagosian’s Derek Blasberg taking up one of the “cottages” at Eothen, the estate formerly owned by Andy Warhol that’s being rented by Dasha Zhukova and her husband, billionaire shipping scion Stavros Niarchos (the house is also owned by Lindemann, what are the odds) ***  Artists, curators, party hosts and writers mourning the loss of China Chalet, the FiDi lunch spot that at night would host smoke-filled ragers, including an early March party for the Independent fair just days before the virus started to surge in Manhattan *** Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s London Mastaba back on the Hyde Park lake by the Serpentine—oh, wait, it’s just on Daniel Birnbaum’s VR app, Acute Art, not really back in London, it’s definitely still destroyed, carry on ***

This is not really a work of art, but pixels on an app. How… uncanny! Photo courtesy Instagram.



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