Wet Paint, Armory Week Edition: A Ride-Along Through Gallery Openings With Gaïa Matisse, Photos From Our Kickoff Party, and More Juicy Art World Gossip
Plus, why did one of downtown's most contentious critics cancel himself? Who was spotted modeling Joan Jonas paintings for Rachel Comey?
KEEPING UP WITH THE MATISSES
And we’re back! School is officially back in session, and the great juncture of Armory Week and Frieze Seoul has most arts professionals back on the grind. This week in New York, there were dozens upon dozens of fabulous openings, so to kick things off, I thought I’d take my readers on a ride-along through a handful of them with the equally fabulous Gaïa Matisse, the cuator/advisor and great-great-granddaughter of Henri Matisse, who was visiting New York from her home in Mexico City to get a slice of the fanfare.
6:23 pm: Gaïa and her cousin, Entrance founder Louis Shannon, pick me up from the East Village in an old Lexus. This choice in car surprises me, as Shannon—who also runs art car collective New Day Motor Club on the side—is usually easy to find in his customized Geo Tracker. Onwards.
“Hi! I’m Gaïa! We met in Miami, I think?” trills Gaïa. This also surprises me, because art world scions of this caliber tend to have a selective memory in terms of who they meet and when, and I rarely make the cut. What I’ll find out over the course of the evening is that she is unexpectedly down-to-earth, given her life lived emphatically in the fast-lane as the daughter of Sophie Matisse and Perrotin artist Alain Jacquet (“He was the most French man you’d ever meet,” she said of Jacquet. Louis corroborated this, “He refused to take his shoes off indoors, and never stopped smoking inside.”)
“We’re going to go to the Man Ray show for like, ten minutes, okay? Then let’s head back downtown to Henry Street.” says Shannon, who, if you’re not familiar with his pedigree, is the son of sculptor Tom Shannon and Catherine Matisse Monnier, which makes him related to one of Man Ray’s contemporaries, Marcel Duchamp, through marriage. Dizzy yet?
6:40pm: While we cruise up third avenue, Louis and Gaïa get to reminiscing about the dinner parties their family threw in Tribeca, where they grew up, often with their art world neighbors, the family of Ouattara Watts.
“I’ve been going through my childhood notebooks recently, and one asks a question, ‘What’s the best memory you have with your family?’ and I wrote, ‘When my cousins were running around the apartment naked,’” Gaïa says, laughing. Louis, red-faced, defended himself that it was because he and his brothers were “obsessed” with the performance artist duo Gilbert & George. A typical excuse.
6:57 pm: We arrive to the Fuller Building, the stunning art deco skyscraper that houses Luxembourg + Co., which decided on the location as a nod to the late art dealer Pierre Matisse, the duo’s great grandfather. Louis parks in a standing lane because our game plan is a sting attack. Immediately upon entry, Louis and Gaïa get to chatting with art dealer and surrealism scholar Francis Naumann.
While I let them chat, I float around the gallery and admire the “experimental sculptures” of Man Ray. I’m amazed to find that so was Leon Black, the embattled former MoMA chairman who recently reached a $62.5 million settlement with the U.S. Virgin Islands over his ties to Jeffrey Epstein. I guess we’re allowing him right back into polite society, huh?
7:12 pm: Our sting operation is officially complete, and we run back to the car which somehow didn’t get ticketed. On our way back downtown, we discuss the virtues of attending Burning Man (Gaïa met her husband there), the class at NYU both of them took taught by artist Haley Mellin, and Gaïa’s brief tenure as Paris Hilton‘s BFF (most details of that were unfortunately off the record.)
8:26pm: Henry Street is as congested as it always is when the corresponding cluster of galleries all coordinate having their shows open on the same night. First stop is Pierre Bellot at 56 Henry, where Ellie Rines is scrambled, anxious about the opening of the Armory Show the next day. “You always worry you’re a year late to the party,” she said. Along Pike Street we peek in to see Witt Fetter‘s oceanic paintings at Fierman, an impressive articulating chandelier by Brian Oakes at Blade Study, and finally settle at Will Shott‘s gallery WWW. to see Nick Farhi‘s painting show, where we run into artist Josh Smith hanging out in the back office.
8:54pm: In case you didn’t know, Shott is also a jewelry designer, and for an upcoming show at his gallery, he’s working in collaboration with Smith on a line of limited edition jewelry. The two had just gotten back from Paris to open up Josh’s show at David Zwirner‘s space on Rue Vieille-du-Temple, and Marlene Zwirner eventually dropped by the gallery and gave us a little preview of Smith and Shott’s line. “We’re also going to sell them on Platform,” she said, adding that she was particularly excited about the ones that depict Josh’s trademark screaming Grim Reapers. “Just in time for Halloween!” she exclaimed. “[Designing jewelry] is good because it’s been fast and loose,” Josh said.
9:42 pm: The evening wears on in a haze of complaints about the heat, spiked seltzers, and airdropped party invites. Louis and Gaïa have separate late-night plans that reveal their split sensibilities: Louis is heading to Emma Peel Room for King’s Leap’s party, and Gaïa’s going uptown to the Boom Boom Room for a Perrotin party. “We’re two sides of a coin,” Louis said with a smirk.
WET PAINT’S WILD SOIRÉE
Did I see you at the party I hosted alongside my friends at Cultural Counsel this week at Jean’s? I bet I did. It feels like most people who love to hate or hate to love this old column were there. If you couldn’t make it though, here are some photos to ensure your FOMO-level hit the danger zone. We drank cocktails provided by Body vodka and danced to a DJ set by Jackson Walker Lewis and The Dare. Behold, photos by the always lovely Matthew Weinberger!
In a dizzying advancement of the Dimes Square canon, contentious critic Crumps has seemingly cancelled himself, for reasons I truly can not even begin to parse… Bernard Arnault’s son Alex Arnault has joined the board of MoMA… The Manhattan Art Review is hiring writers, though the post does note that “This position does not need to be filled”… There’s a storm potentially brewing about a certain sandwich-boy turned art dealer… Collector Larry Warsh has joined the advisory for the new art and food publication Family Style…
Julian Schnabel and his son Olmo after Olmo’s thriller Pet Shop Days screened at the Venice film fest. pic.twitter.com/nPVhUwLDtR
— Walter Robinson (@walter10065) September 5, 2023
Julian Schnabel sitting on his son Olmo’s lap after the premier of Olmo’s new movie at the Venice Film Festival *** Maurizio Cattelan biking past Cooper Union on the first day of classes *** Joan Jonas sitting regally at Rachel Comey’s SS24 show, where models Lua Beaulieu and Coco Gordon-Moore sported designs that incorporate the gestural paintings of Jonas *** Venus Williams, Anderson Cooper, and Norman Reedus are among the celebrities that stopped by Armory’s VIP opening *** Neil Gaiman stopped by Lomex‘s show of work by artist Yoshitaka Amano ***
Neil gaiman and yoshitaka amano meeting for the first time in 19 years pic.twitter.com/q1KfUUs79Z
— Alexander Shulan (@alexandershulan) September 8, 2023
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