Jenna Gribbon Joins a Major Gallery, Art Basel’s VIP Day Crashed by Normies, And More Art-World Gossip

Plus, what famed comedic actor was Jerry Saltz out bowling with? What cardinal museum rule did Patti Smith break? Read on for answers.

Jenna Gribbon. Photo by Annie Klebanoff.

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].



Good gossip columnists are like stars: you may not always see us, but you know we are there

For instance, I may not physically be in Basel right now with you fine folk, but my email inbox is a treasure trove of art-fair intel. For instance, I found out that Jenna Gribbon is now working with the closely-watched blue-chipper LGDR

The gallery (which, as you know by now, is a conglomerate formed by Dominique Lévy, Brett Gorvy, Amalia Dayan, and Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn) has a painting by the Brooklyn-based figurative painter, who made a name for herself with brazen portraits of women in powerful yet vulnerable settings, at the fair. (She’s also a fellow University of Georgia alum—go dawgs!)

A quick Facetime call with Dayan confirmed it: Gribbon is the first artist the gallery has added to its roster after dropping a significant number of others in the merger). 

The closest I, and many others, will get to this Jenna Gribbon piece which was bought by TK.

The closest I, and many others, will get to this Jenna Gribbon piece which was bought by for $70,000 on the opening day of the fair.

“As the size of her paintings change, I feel like she’s really exploring the line between abstraction and figuration with more room,” Dayan said of You, blinded by M (2022), a 40-by-30-inch, oil-on-canvas painting in vivid golds and purples. The piece sold for $70,000 to a private collection in San Francisco held by a SFMOMA board member. Dayan said she had a long list of interested buyers for the piece, and that she was literally looking at the resumes of some collectors. “We sat with all the names, and it was a beauty contest.”

“This partnership with LGDR developed very organically,” Gribbon told Wet Paint over email. The artist will continue working with Massimo De Carlo in Milan, London, and Hong Kong, but will be solely represented by LGDR in New York. She was formerly represented by Fredericks and Freiser in New York, whose owners she described as “key figures in guiding me through these last few very formative years in my career.”

Gribbon’s market has taken off in the past few years. Her art made its auction debut in 2020, when two works sold for around $14,000 each. By 2022, she hit a high of $100,800, which remains her auction record. Searches of the artist’s name in the Artnet Price Database, which are far from free, have gone up in recent months too. This past May alone, her name was punched into the database by users 27 times, more than in any other single month prior.

While I had Dayan on the horn, I asked about LGDR’s original intent to only show at Asian fairs, which, obviously, is no longer the case. She said that showing at Basel was always on the table for LGDR.

“The truth is that the business is evolving,” Dayan said. “It’s becoming more apparent to us what we want to do with the partnership. It’s very clear that the first year would be one of evolution. We don’t want to be stale.” 



Lawrence Weiner, OUT OF SIGHT. Courtesy Art Basel.

Lawrence Weiner, OUT OF SIGHT. Courtesy Art Basel.

Speaking of Art Basel, my team of spies have informed me that the VIP preview of Art Basel on Tuesday felt a little… different from years past.

First of all, in lieu of the usual figs that are passed around, there were oysters à la TEFAF, which is a switch up. But the bigger change, as my colleague Naomi Rea reported, was that the fair’s first day was so packed that Marc Payot, Hauser and Wirth’s co-president, said there were “nearly too many people for a preview.” 

I think I may know why. 

Some spies said that art dealers were left having to sort out the hoi polloi from the serious-collector money bags.
I think I may know why.

The team at Art Basel confirmed to Wet Paint that there was a technical issue with their app on the opening day, but that it was “quickly resolved” within 15 minutes. They said no visitors were allowed in during the glitch.

Whether or not non-VIPs managed to swarm the gates, collector Ron Harrar certainly noticed that it was pretty packed. “VIP day was full of people, and 50 percent or perhaps even more [of the art] was pre-sold,” he said. If he’s correct, then perhaps its not really a problem that the preview was full of people who likely wouldn’t buy a piece in the six-figures, as those were already snatched up. “I’m told that Asians and Americans are buying over the phone,” he added.

“It was my first time in the main section of the fair so it’s hard for me to say,” said JTT’s owner Jasmin Tsuo. “I think it was pretty busy.” 



Tourmaline‘s solo booth with Chapter NY has won the Baloise Art Prize from Art Basel’s “Statements” section … Walter De Maria’s beloved SoHo staple, The New York Earth Room (1977), is closed for conservation for the first time in 45 years … The crypto-investing Winklevoss twins have formed a band called Mars Junction and it seems pretty terrible … The Elaine de Kooning house in East Hampton has been added to the National Register of Historic Places Lubov‘s solo show of celestial paintings by Connor Marie Stankard sold out within its first weekend … Peter Schjeldahl‘s daughter, Ada Calhoun, penned a searing piece on her father’s “mercurial and unreliable” parenting style … Sargent’s Daughters has taken on representation of Yevgeniya Baras, beginning with a solo show in fall of 2023 …





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A post shared by Jerry Saltz (@jerrysaltz)

Jerry Saltz and the multi-hyphenate NFT-outsider artist Jim Carrey out bowling at the Hollywood Roosevelt (what’s that meme about a “nightmare blunt rotation”?) *** The only person missing from that party is Beeple, who has touched down in Basel for his first time, and created an, er, interesting graphic on what his experience has been like at the fair *** Samuel Marion hosted a party at hotspot Bella Ciao for the closing of his first solo show at Estrella Gallery, attended by Hauser and Wirth associate director Jed MochAria Dean, and Daniel Armitano*** Emma Fujiko Hammond Thomas celebrated her birthday at the River, with a regular who’s who in attendance, including Julia FoxRichie Shazam, Kayode OjoAlex Shulan, and Rachel Rabbit White *** Mickalene ThomasSarah Slappey, Olive Allen, Paul Sevigny, and KAWS at the annual Glass House party in New Canaan, requisite picnic baskets and rosé in hand *** Patti Smith broke the one rule of museums and posted a photo touching a Constantin Brâncuși sculpture at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin *** Matthew Higgs clocked Trump impeachment lawyer Eric Hischmann on MSNBC with a Rob Pruitt painting in his Zoom background ***


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A post shared by Matthew Higgs (@matthewhiggs2015)


Tis the season for some delicious (albeit occasionally random) summer group shows!

Already I’m looking forward to a few at Deli Gallery and EuropaMatthew Higgs, director and curator of White Columns, wrote in that his favorite summer group show in recent memory was “Something Anything,” curated by Nayland Blake for Matthew Marks in 2002. He described it as a “truly amazing exhibition, from an era when galleries really made an investment in their summer shows.”

Art advisor Sue Stoffel suggested David Zwirner‘s group show of work by his art handlers. “It was fresh, startling and so much fun. I wish all megas would do this. Would make a statement about all the under-appreciated work they do, and to say thank you. These artists got a large percentage of the proceeds. It was win-win-win for everyone.”

Publicist dynamo Hannah Gottlieb-Graham threw Nicola Vassell‘s group show from last summer, “Song of the Open Road”, into the mix, calling it “a gorgeous show exploring landscape in both literal and metaphorical ways.”

This week, I ask: What’s the best art-meets-sports experience you’ve witnessed or been involved in? Write in your answer to [email protected].

Update, June 22: This story has been updated with a statement from Art Basel clarifying that no visitors were allowed in during the VIP pass glitch.

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