A Star JTT Artist Finds a New Home, Rachel Uffner Gallery Gets Heisted on the Lower East Side, and More Juicy Art World Gossip
Plus, what artist has been named editor-in-chief of Elephant Magazine? Who was spotted at the opening of O'Flaherty's "Café" group show?
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].
ENTER THE JTT DIASPORA
This month, the art world was hit with the sad revelation that the beloved gallery JTT would be closing after an inspired and star-making 12-year run. Since the news broke, heart-rending testimonies have been written and glasses have been poured out for the loss of yet another scrappy mid-tier gallery, which is certainly a tough thing to bear witness to as the ecosystem continues to stratify. Founder Jasmin T. Tsuo (hence the name) said in a statement, “It has always been our mission to exhibit visionary work and present exhibitions in which we believe without compromise, and we are so proud that this remarkable project has lasted for over a decade.”
But you didn’t come to old Wet Paint for a sob story, now did you? No chance, Lance! You’re here to find out what’s really going on. Considering JTT’s track record of minting star artists like Borna Sammak, Issy Wood, and Sable Elyse Smith, among others, it’s no surprise that other galleries are circling to see which of said stars are now looking for new representation. As of now, I can clue you in to one such move: Sam McKinniss, the painter known for his irreverent portraiture of American celebrity culture, is (probably) joining the roster of David Kordansky.
I add that parenthetical because the gallery would not confirm this to be true, despite the rumor having been floated around for the past several weeks by those in the know. McKinniss himself wouldn’t confirm, but very tellingly dodged a direct question on the topic by instead eulogizing JTT: “I’m very sad about JTT closing. Working with Jasmin and the roster there often times felt like co-owning a small family business. I’ve been reflecting on how fortunate I am to have been part of the JTT venture.”
McKinniss is a good get for any gallery, as his star has been on the rise for a while now. His second solo show with JTT, “Mischief,” was quite the smash last summer, and his eerie portrait of Nancy Reagan was a critical hit, prompting a rave review from the Brooklyn Rail. McKinniss’s subject matter has also given him a good deal of success outside of our commercial art world (gasp!)—as you may recall, he painted musician Lorde‘s cover art for her smash 2017 album Melodrama. The Hollywood-ness of it all makes him a pretty good fit for Kordansky, who, despite opening up in New York City, is heavily associated with all things Tinseltown.
As of now, no other moves have been made by artists on the JTT roster, but I can practically feel the cogs churning. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on what else surfaces.
ROBBERY IN SOHO
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Art heists seem so glamorous from afar, no? Movie history is chockablock with films about the thievery of art—a cursory search on IMDB comes up with 94 movies, which is likely a fraction of the total, and just this year Willem Dafoe tried to steal Thomas Crown’s glory by starring as a tortured art thief in the decidedly tepid Inside. The fact is, mainstream audiences seem to love a highbrow burglary. Unfortunately, for those who are actually involved in the fine art market, art heists suck! They are not fun, at all. Just ask Rachel Uffner.
Right now, her Lower East Side gallery has a show of paintings by Susan Chen featuring different interpretations of hand-sanitizer bottles, and, just this past week, a triptych of three paintings titled Purell Morning, Afternoon, and Night that was hanging by the front door was swiped straight from the gallery.
“It would be kind if the community can help me keep an eye out for these works, in case they reappear in the future,” Chen told Wet Paint, who was surprised to hear that a robber burst in one afternoon (the gallery arms a security system at night). “At the end of the day, these works are lost, and I’m honestly just relieved no one got hurt during the incident,” she added.
The gallery confirmed that insurance has covered the cost of the lost work, and that a police investigation is currently underway. “Yesterday, for the first time in its history, the gallery was the victim of a theft,” it said in a statement. “We are incredibly grateful that no one was harmed. The police are actively investigating the incident.”
Images of the stolen artworks are above, so keep your eyes peeled in case you see them around town, perhaps on your burglar friend’s wall. Here’s hoping the pieces end up back in the proper hands again soon.
Andrew Kreps’s website seems to have expired… The New York Times accidentally called Raphael Rubenstein‘s wife and gallery partner Heather his daughter, oof… Arthur Jafa is looking for a new studio assistant in Los Angeles… Tschabalala Self has been appointed the editor-in-chief of the newly revamped Elephant Magazine… The Museum Brandhorst in Munich has acquired eight new works by PopeL.… Swivel Gallery has taken on representation of Aris Azarmsa… The buzzy gallery Francis Irv is moving to a new space on Walker Street in Tribeca next month… Hollis Taggart is doubling the footprint of its ground-level Chelsea gallery on West 26th Street…
Cat Marnell dropping by James Fuentes’s new show of very New York-y paintings by Stipan Tadić *** Sophia Cohen, Matt Copson, Alex Israel, Ruba Katrib, Peter Halley, and Hans Ulrich-Obrist were among those who made it out to Aspen for ArtCrush *** Naomi Watts, Nicole Miller, Donna Karan, and Eileen Guggenheim trekked out to Shelter Island to draw en plein air at New York Academy of Art’s annual party *** Hans Ulrich-Obrist (again), Raúl de Nieves, Zac Bahaj, and Aurel Schmidt at the opening of O’Flaherty’s new café, which had a raging afterparty nearby at Ella Funt *** Dakis Joannou and George Condo grinning for the camera at Sparks Steak House in a #latergram posted by the Greek collector ***
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Hello there! I took a few weeks to go through the outpouring of ideas for who to cast as Lisa Schiff, the embattled art advisor who is enduring an investigation into her high-valued art advisory. Truly, I am flummoxed by how many great suggestions I received for who should play Schiff. Overall, three actors came up over and over again: Gwyneth Paltrow, Tara Reid, and Kaley Cuoco. Personally, I’d love to see Miss Reid have a career renaissance, so this week’s winner goes to Company Agenda‘s Gina Nanni and recurring winner, collector Scott Lorinsky. Congrats!
Up next, an obvious one: Now that we have a somewhat comprehensive profile of Sir Larry Gagosian, I wonder who would be best to play him in a biopic. I want you to send me two options: an actor to play the young, scrappy stoner Larry, and another to play the elder Larry, rich as Croesus and established as the man who makes the art world go-go. Winner gets a pink Wet Paint hat, as always. Email your answers to [email protected].
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