Gallerists Get Spooked Following the Closures of Foxy Production and JTT, Gagosian’s Secret Weapon Revealed, and More Juicy Art World Gossip
Plus, what artist got invited for dinner at Kamala Harris's house? Who is the latest celeb to hop on the bro-ramics wagon?
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].
DOWNTOWN GALLERIES GET THE JTT-ERS
One thing is certain, which is that this fall is off to an uncertain start. Armory Week was pretty much a shell of its former self, and from where I stand, the art market in New York City is also haunted by the ghosts of two veteran galleries that recently had to close their doors: JTT, which announced its closure after ten years last month, and as of this week, Foxy Production has gone bust after twenty years in the game. Both galleries are beloved for launching the careers of some of New York’s most exciting contemporary artists, thus their respective closures came as a shock. So, the question on many minds now is, if they can’t do it, who can?
“Am I nervous? Maybe a little, but it’s a motivating nervousness,” said Sara Blazej, the former director at Karma who opened her own space, Sara’s, in the same Chinatown building as Foxy Production earlier this year. She added, in a manner both nihilistic and optimistic, “even if there is some steep economic downturn coming and all the small galleries close or get cannibalized by larger ones, my feeling is that people will always find a way to do cool and interesting things, either within those new systems or not.” I hope she’s right!
“I think tiny galleries and massive galleries are positioned best,” said Shane Rossi, who co-runs Francis Irv with Sam Marion Wilken. The gallery is in the process of moving from Chinatown to a larger space on Walker Street. “I can imagine it being really difficult to have midsize overhead while showing emerging work, especially if you have artists move on and/or you don’t show the most market friendly work. I’m feeling less nervous because we’re really careful to keep overhead under control,” he said.
The jitters are quite understandable for the new kids on the block, but more established names are feeling the anxiety as well. Mills Moràn of Moràn Moràn expressed his sadness over the loss of two of New York’s most compelling programs, but sympathized with how the demand to keep expanding over time can feel crushing at times. “You’re constantly on edge in this business, because you’re always a series of shows and art fairs away from getting your ass handed to you,” he said from Mexico City, where his gallery just opened a Robin F. Williams show. “It’s a challenging industry to stay alive in. In a lot of ways its a game of attrition. You gotta outlast it.”
Joe Cole of Broadway Gallery felt that the unease may be a bit outsized. “I think very highly of those two galleries, and like everyone else I’m sad to see them go,” he said. “But between new galleries opening and a lot of activity in the market, I think it’s dangerous to assume it’s a sign of some dire moment in the market.”
BEHIND EVERY GREAT MAN IS A GREAT… LIAISON
Earlier this week, my colleague Kenny Schachter enlightened us with some compelling details about Carol Bove’s surprise defection from David Zwirner to their chief competitor, Gagosian. According to Kenny, “my intel puts the blame solely on David’s failure to step up and cover her not-insubstantial production fees incurred in the act of procuring, bending, and painting heavy metal.” This makes sense, seeing as Larry is the only gallerist willing and able to foot the bill for giant Richard Serra shows. He clearly has the elbow grease necessary for big, heavy sculptures.
My intel, however, tells another story of what led to Carol crossing over to the Gagosian side, how Larry secured representation of Nan Goldin from Marian Goodman, and how the gallery managed to stage the new Cady Noland show. And reader, I’m delighted to say its kind of a heartwarming tale. As we all know, loyalty is its own currency in the art world. And certain behind-the-scenes figures have cashed out.
While we like to talk about Larry Gagosian as this larger-than-life figure, he owes a lot of this success to more hidden figures within his operation. Wet Paint has learned that Bove’s liaison at Zwirner, Mary Mitsch, had moved on to become a director at Gagosian two years ago, and Bove effectively followed her. Said a diplomatic Mitsch, “I have been fortunate to know Carol for about a decade. We worked together for several years and continued to share a fond friendship. It is a joy to welcome her to Gagosian, and to share Larry’s enthusiasm for her work and vision for the future.”
If this sounds familiar, its because Nan Goldin—who declared “nobody poached me” when she left Marian Goodman for Gagosian—also credited her liaison Andrew Heyward, who has worked with her since the ’90s at Matthew Marks, as a motivating force behind her move. Sources said Heyward was also responsible for securing the impossible Cady Noland show, which has been talked about to death, but in case you forgot, Noland did once say that said she’d rather shoot Larry Gagosian than have him do a solo show of her work.
So there you have it. The real power lies in the hands of a good liaison.
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Chris Pine is the latest celebrity to admit he’d like to get in on the “bro-ramics” trend, which has had more staying power than I could have ever believed… Dan Colen’s Sky High Farms has launched a prebiotic soda, and it’s being sold at Dimes Deli for $6.50 a pop… Afrodet Zuri has launched a new artist residency in Seoul, kicking off with a show from Dustin Yellin… Pastis is constructing a new restaurant in Washington D.C. with an opening date coming this November (perhaps this will become the watering hole for the Hirshhorn, as it is for the Whitney in New York?)…
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Vice President Kamala Harris invited the legendary Lonnie Holley over to her house *** Lucy Bull posing for a selfie with Harmony Korine at his opening at Hauser & Wirth in Los Angeles *** Vincent Fremont was among those present for the unveiling of John Waters’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (color me jealous) *** Awol Erizku, Hank Willis Thomas, Jeremy O. Harris, and Hollis Taggart all traveled out to Bentonville, Ark., for Crystal Bridges’s annual party ***
With the new movie “Dumb Money” out about the notorious Gamestop stock market debacle, I thought back to that fond time where “stonks” and “ETH” and “NFTs” felt like something I actually needed to care about—thank God that’s over.
With some fondness for that devil-may-care, anything-goes market, let’s cast another David and Goliath tale with that era in mind. For the esteemed prize of a pink Wet Paint hat, who would you cast to play Sotheby’s Brooke Lampley, a representative of the ConstitutionDAO, and finally, Ken Griffin (it can’t be Nick Offerman, who plays Griffin in “Dumb Money”). Email who you would have play those three roles to [email protected].
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