Wet Paint: Terry Richardson Gets Slammed in Dad’s Secret Memoir, Team Gallery Founder Disappears, & More Art-World Gossip
What movie star was Lucas Zwirner spotted having dinner with? Why is 4Chan going after Wet Paint over Hunter Biden? 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].
FREAKY PHOTOG PAPA TELLS ALL
Most of us know the story of Terry Richardson, who once upon a time was an in-demand fashion editorial shutterbug. He had a schtick of shooting bright-lit portraits against white backdrops, and then was banned by most fancy-dress mags after scores of women accused him of sexual assault. Since the fall of 2017, he’s lived semi-anonymously in Bearsville, New York, near his wife’s wellness boutique in Woodstock.
But you might not know about Terry’s late father, Bob Richardson, also a photographer, who had a heyday in the 1960s and died in 2005 after a topsy turvy glammed-up drug-fueled life wracked by bouts of schizophrenia.
For years, he was the toast of Hollywood and Greenwich Village, cutting a rug at parties among the go-go icons of the era. He took speed, dated starlets—including, for four years, Anjelica Huston—and made a fortune off his work, only to have his disease lead him into destitution. By the ’80s, he was living a series of flophouses—a run-down motel in San Diego, an SRO in San Francisco’s Chinatown—but made a comeback in the ’90s thanks to a 1995 profile by Ingrid Sichy in the New Yorker, and then, in the 2000s, his son’s newfound fame. The two charmed editors, booking gigs as a strange trans-generational double-lensed duo.
The full story of Bob and Terry has never been told—but now Wet Paint can reveal that it was secretly written down in a memoir by the father who lived it. It’s believed there is only one copy of the manuscript in existence, and a New York gallery owner told us they are in possession of it (and showed us some pictures of it), having been gifted the book by a close collaborator of Bob’s.
And it’s a doozy. In addition to spilling his guts in the way of a rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-riches bildungsroman, Bob also unleashes some serious dirt on the exploits of his son—so much so that, according to the owner of the one and only copy, Terry would be prudent to wish this manuscript never sees the light of day. What’s more, it’s apparently an incredible read—gripping, idiosyncratic, full of life.
Perhaps soon we’ll peruse the revelations about Bob’s life, and his life with Terry. As far as the dealer knows, the last will and testament draws no legal restrictions on turning the manuscript into book, so a publisher could get the rights to the one-and-only copy and put it into circulation pronto. If you’re in the know, the gallery owner is down to discuss publication in a very hush-hush way. Richardson the younger could not be reached for comment.
TEAMSTER ON THE RUN
Where in the world is Jose Freire? Over the summer, the dealer closed his galley, Team, following an outcry from artists who never got paid. His staff vacated the SoHo storefront space, Freire packed up the living space he was crashing in downstairs, and the landlord gave the space over to a design firm co-founded by his son. By all accounts, it was an ignoble final chapter of the story of the gallery, which for decades represented and showed legendary artists and nurtured a generation of talented dealers and curators.
It’s not over yet. Multiple sources have told Wet Paint that artists, collectors, and advisors have been trying to track down Freire to recover artworks paid for ages ago—but Freire is nowhere to be found. He’s a ghost: Many think he fled the country. One advisor said they tried to serve Freire legal documents demanding reimbursement for a painting that was paid for but never delivered. Pity the process server, as the papers never got to Freire.
One source said multiple artists are still trying to locate works that were in gallery inventory as the operation was falling apart, to no avail. Another source said those looking for work and reimbursement went to Freire’s house in New Jersey, but those who trekked over were rebuffed when the abode’s new owners told them Freire had sold the place and bailed.
One source guessed that the former Team owner flew the coop completely and left US soil, perhaps to some remote part of Spain, where his mother still lives. Another said they heard from several people that he’s laying low in Portland, Maine. Needless to say, attempts to reach Freire for comment were unsuccessful.
IN WHICH WET PAINT GETS DRAGGED INTO ELECTION CONSPIRACY THEORIES
Perhaps you’ve heard something about a laptop and Hunter Biden recently. You’ve seen the hot pics of him grizzled and ripping cigs, stubbled and smoldering in a bathtub, waking up with a crack pipe. Along with those leaked pictures, there are also some pretty naughty videos as well. Reader, do you know what a footjob is? Until recently, I did not.
We bring this up because, with the election now just days away, even Wet Paint can’t avoid getting embroiled in this non-controversy that conservative media is desperately trying to make into a thing. Last fall, your columnist introduced the world to Zoe Kestan, an artist and downtown scenester who had a relationship with Hunter in 2018. In that dispatch, we discussed how the couple gallivanted around Lower East Side openings, and how she also apparently made a series of, um, revealing paintings of Hunter—paintings of The Full Biden, so to speak. Just kids having fun. All perfectly legal and wonderful, for everyone involved!
Fast forward a year, and Wet Paint has become ensnared in some head-scratching nut-job conspiracy-addled message boarding. There’s a 4chan page throwing around all kinds of bonkers theories based on that original column. Wildly false flights of whimsy abound. Was the footjob really a work of art? Is Kestan a Russian plant? Or was she a Mossad honeytrap?
That same user throwing all these rumors around said “the entire story will disappear shortly.” (Dear readers, it’s still here.) So come at Wet Paint with your beef, 4chan. We can take you. With an arsenal of art gossip.
Biden, Kestan, and the QAnon High Council could not be reached for comment.
Last week’s quiz successfully stumped many! After weeks of having to limit the winners listed to just 10, this time around, only a handful of guesses came in 100 percent correct. And that correct answer would be: the show was Miami Vice, and the artist was Mark Kostabi. Former Artnet correspondent Mark Kostabi, in fact!
Here’s who nailed the quiz: Fotofolio director Anya Bondell; former Luhring Augustine director Lisa Kohli; and Eric Elms, the founder of creative agency Partners & Others. And that’s it! All three winners should be extremely proud. Millions of readers got stumped.
But for those who missed out, well, there’s another chance this week. Name the movie this still is from; the artwork in the background; the real (non-movie) owner of the artwork; and the place where the owner purchased it.
Send all guesses to [email protected]. Winners will truly get some swag at some point! I’ll bankrupt myself to make this happen! That’s just how we do things here at the Wet Paint HQ.
Bortolami is expanding its Tribeca footprint, and will take the 2,000-square-foot loft above Stefania Bortolami’s already spacious Walker Street gallery and use it for more exhibition space and offices … Bill de Blasio is apparently trying to torpedo mega-collector Steve Cohen’s bid to buy the New York Mets by saying that Cohen can’t lease the city-owned land that hosts Citi Field because Cohen’s firm pleaded guilty to wire and securities fraud—Wet Paint has dutifully reached out to former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara for his thoughts on the matter, his response is forthcoming, stay tuned … While the postponed October edition of the Dallas Art Fair did not, alas, happen, the fair is hosting galleries such as Magenta Plains, Night Gallery, and Perrotin as they stage pop-up booths in the Texas city’s design district, where the fair maintains spaces … The Journal Gallery in Tribeca will open a show of new work by Raymond Pettibon November 6 …
… Artist Bozidar Brazda has opened a six-month gallery in Woodstock, and the inaugural show will feature works by Rosemarie Trockel, Elaine Cameron-Weir, Ugo Rondinone, Terence Koh, and himself—it’s on Tinker Street, a stone’s throw from the former residences of Hendrix and Dylan … The closing party for the current show at LES gallery 22 Ludlow—featuring paintings by Imani Bilal, curated by Nemo Librizzi—will go down this evening, Friday, with a performance by Onyx Collective at 7:00 p.m. … Daniel Crews-Chubb is now represented by Timothy Taylor … Rachel Jones is now represented by Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac … The Baltimore Museum of Art and the Association of Art Museum Directors are locked in a knock-down drag-out war over whether it’s ethical to raise money through deaccessioning works—but both sides are repped by the same PR firm, PAVE Communications & Consulting, which must make for some interesting Zoom meetings … One of the scandalously few David Hammons sculptures in the collection of MoMA was donated by Dick Fuld, the former (and last!) CEO of Lehman Brothers, who is widely seen as the prime villain of the 2008 economic collapse …
*** Scarlett Johansson marrying SNL‘s Weekend Update anchor Colin Jost at her home in Snedens Landing—Johansson was previously married to Romain Dauriac, a curator and advisor who has organized projects at spaces such as Ghebaly, Simon Lee, and Antenna Projects *** Jerry Saltz commenting on a Meredith Rosen Gallery Instagram post of Kate Moss—one of the most recognizable people in human history, not to mention a muse to artists Saltz ostensibly knows, like Lucien Freud, Chuck Close, and Marc Quinn—by saying, earnestly, “Is this someone famous?” ***
*** Keltie Ferris at Altro Paradiso Saturday at a signing for a monograph, >>A>Decade, published by Mitchell-Innes & Nash and Morán Morán *** Close friend of the column Dua Lipa chatting with Bernie Sanders about the importance of universal health care on Instagram live *** Newly single Lucas Zwirner having an intimate alfresco dinner with actress Maya Hawke at a restaurant in Manhattan *** Johnny Pigozzi posting a picture he took of Bill Gates staring deep into Damien Hirst’s The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living when it was on view at the Met in 2007 ***
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