A Famous Artist Plops Down on Henry Street, the Case of Allan Schwartzman and the Delectable Sandwich Mixup, and More Juicy Art World Gossip

Plus, who are the art world's Taylor Swift fans devout enough to trek out to see her perform in New Jersey? What buzzy Dimes Square restaurant is closing?

Jack Pierson. (Photo by Will Ragozzino/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Every week, Artnet News brings you Wet Paint, a gossip column of original scoops. If you have a tip, email Annie Armstrong at [email protected].


Here in the Wet Paint universe, one of our favorite bits of news to stumble across is of an artist starting their own gallery. It consistently leads to exciting projects and imaginative programming. Obviously, the column has had a good deal of fun with Jamian Juliano-Villani’s freewheeling and boundary-pushing space O’Flaherty’s, and, last fall, Rachel Rossin’s project space in an abandoned Dunkin’ Donuts—it’s called the Dunkunsthallemade its grand debut and has helped foster the burgeoning scene in the Financial District ever since. 

As of this week, Wet Paint can now confirm a third artist to hang out a shingle, completing the trend. Down in the scrappy, imaginative Henry Street gallery cluster, the renowned textual assemblagist Jack Pierson is set to open what I hear is going to be a mixed-use gallery/studio space. 

“I’ve heard it’s going to be, like, an extended living room of his,” said one gallery employee in the area who’s been spotting Pierson around the neighborhood a lot lately. Another told me they heard that it would function a little bit like a vintage shop, which makes sense given the artist’s proclivity for collecting abandoned signage from the street. In case you don’t know, the artist got his start as a breakout star of the 2003 Whitney Biennial and is most associated with sculptures that spell out punky phrases or grabby names using colorful junkyard lettering. (A piece reading “GERTRUDE STEIN” out of junkyard lettering is currently on view just up the street at James Fuentes; Pierson’s main galleries are Thaddeus Ropac, Lisson, Xavier Hufkens, and Regen Projects.)

The artist is taking over the lease from Leo Fitzpatrick, whose experimental space Public Access at 105 Henry Street just hosted their final show after two years of occupying the space. According to dealers in the area, there was a bit of a space race to see who would get their hands on the lease, which is remarkably inexpensive at $3,000 a month. “There was a bit of drama,” one neighboring gallerist told me. “But we’re all excited to see what Jack is going to do with the space.” Another told me, “We wanted to make sure it wasn’t a rando coming into the neighborhood.”

If the neighbors seem a bit cliquey, that’s just fine by me. A walk around the neighborhood while reporting this piece reminded me of how much exciting energy the community there fostered, and how much interesting art there is to see, be it a gestural painting by Jo Messer at 56 Henry, a portrait of critic Dean Kissick by Sven Loven at No Gallery, the whirring, energetic paintings by Francisco Tavoni at ATM Gallery, or the elaborate puzzles of Lucy Charlesworth Freeman at Will Shott, among plenty others.

Pierson didn’t respond to me for further comment on what to expect viz. his vision for the space, but let’s stay tuned.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Via Quadronno (@viaquadronno)

This just in from the department of oddities. For the gallery workers uptown, Via Quadranno is a popular joint for a nice lunch to divide up the work day. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Frick, Nahmad Contemporary, Gagosian uptown, nuevo Sotheby’s, and the charming, memorably narrow Italian bistro is perfectly sited to serve up affordable paninis and authentic Milanese pastas to their visitors and employees. 

That, recently, was the consideration set that made one anonymous friend of Wet Paint interested in the restaurant recently, so they went to its website—actually, they accidentally went to the website for Via Quadronno’s shuttered 88th Street and Madison location—and called the number listed to reserve a table. Imagine their surprise when the person on the other line answered: “Hello, this is Schwartzman& Advisory Services, how can I help you?” 

I tested it out and it’s true. If you follow the number listed on the restaurant’s website for their now-defunct spinoff, the number listed takes you directly to the front desk of the founding New Museum staff member and former Sotheby’s rainmaker (I know, I know, tip #34) Allan Schwartzman‘s advisory company. 

“Unfortunately, this happens a lot,” the front desk associate told me over the phone when I asked how many people call looking to order a panini, reserve a table, or what have you. “We really don’t know how our numbers got crossed.” 

When I gave Schwartzman a ring to see if he knew what the deal was, I was met with an advisor in near hysterics. “I did not know this, and it’s just one more surreal part of my day now,” he said. He confirmed that this was not, in fact, an elaborate advertising ruse to appeal to the restaurant’s high-profile lunch crowd. One potential unexpected perk of the mixup: “Maybe since we share a number, we can get delivery out of their delivery zone!” 



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Chloë Sevigny (@chloessevigny)

The t-shirt Chloë Sevigny wore in Larry Clark‘s Kids is on display at the Museum of the City of New York… The buzzy Dimes Square sushi restaurant Time is closing (I hear a bar designed by Camilla Deterre may be taking its place?), but that didn’t stop Adam Alessi from throwing the afterparty for his solo exhibition at Clearing in the space… the Magazzino Italian Art museum is expanding by opening up a new pavilion designed by Miguel Quismodo and Alberto Campo Baeza this September… The Francis Bacon painting that’s being fractionalized by ARTEX MTF is the piece that once lived in Roald Dahl‘s collection…  François Ghebaly is opening a new space in Rome



Andrea Fraser, covered in cake. Courtesy of Ben Davis.

In classic Andrea Fraser style, the performance artist got passionate about her speech in support of Triple Canopy by pie-ing herself in the face *** Arden Wohl, Eileen Myles, and Lizzie Bougatsos reading poetry for the public outside of St. Mark’s Church *** Joe Nahmad got hitched in Sardinia, and Simon de Pury, Leo DiCaprio, Venus and Serena Williams were all there for the party that reportedly racked up a $12.9 million tally *** Matthew Higgs, Mills Moràn, and Ivy Getty are among the art world Swifties who trekked out to New Jersey for the “Eras” tour this past weekend *** MoMA celebrated Ellsworth Kelly’s new status as a local holiday namesake (mark your calendars for May 31 as Ellsworth Kelly Day!), and Fred EversleyRachel Harrison, and Wyatt Kahn were among the artists there to celebrate *** Michael Stipe dining en plein air at Cookshop before the Chelsea openings *** 

? ⭐ CASTING CALL! ?️ ?

We’re back, baby! This week, in order to win a Wet Paint hat delivered to you straight out of my apartment, I challenge you to cast the following movie idea with Hollywood actors: Remember when Klaus Biesenbach professed his unrequited love for Marina Abramović at a dinner hosted by MoMA? I want you to cast Biesenbach, Abramović, and Agnes Gund for a Mike Nichols-esque tearjerker that follows their two-decade-long prelude to the heart-wrenching confession (including their short-lived effort a cohabitation back in the day). Email your answers to [email protected].

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.
Article topics