Meet Miami’s Most Buzzed-About Gallerist, A Rap Sheet of This Year’s Beachfront Scene, and More Juicy Art World Gossip

Plus, where was Florian Krewer giving tattoos to his fans? What downtown show caught Matthew Barney's eye?

Katia Rosenthal at her gallery. Photo by Annie Armstrong.

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].

MEET MIAMI’S GIRL MOST LIKELY 

Each year in Art Basel Miami Beach, there’s a handful of breakout artists, gallerists, and other future power players who emerge as the names on everyone’s lips. This year, the word on the street at the parties and events that your humble narrator attended was all about Katia Rosenthal, the intrepid mind behind KDR 305

“People are shouting to me, ‘Queen of Miami! Queen of Miami!’ And I’m like ‘No, STOP!’” Rosenthal told me from the outside her new space in Miami’s Allapatah neighborhood, which has become host to a cluster of local galleries. 

Rosenthal had previously operated her gallery out of the sun room of her own home, but finally hung out a shingle and opened an official space this week with a show by Alejandro Piñeiro Bello, who is having a moment himself, with a show just around the block at the Rubell Museum. I swung by the space to catch up with Rosenthal, as it felt like this week she officially arrived as her own enterprise. Despite being hungover (“I went to see Juvenile at Soho Beach House last night, I had to sneak in from the beach!”) Rosenthal was bubbling over with enthusiasm about the show, and as full of life as ever. 

“Alejandro creates something that has a real human connection,” she said of the show, which is titled “En El Arco Del Caribe,” and is up through January 13. “People respond to these symphonic paintings. He’s listening to music in his studio while he paints, smoking a cigar, and you feel that in the work.”

For those that don’t know her personally, Rosenthal has been in the art world for years, known by most as the right-hand man to the late, beloved Bill Brady, with whom she worked for six years in Miami. “He was crazy, and a good, kindhearted person,” she said through tears. “And he gave me the opportunity of a lifetime.” Brady passed away suddenly in May at 55.

Brady tapped Rosenthal to join his enterprise after she had worked in entry-level roles for a handful of galleries in New York, and brought her back to her hometown of Miami. “I still remember the first time I saw him, he skateboarded up to Jeff Bailey when I was working there,” she said, laughing that he was visibly stoned when they first met. The two hit it off, and when she eventually went to work for him, she got  a mentor and friend, and also his rolodex of contacts that she continues to work with today. 

“‘Nothing’s on fire, everything is chill!’ That was the Bill Brady ethos,” she said. “He didn’t like to bother collectors, he never pushed work. He would show stuff to people and get them hyped up. If he was excited about an artist, he would talk about it endlessly. He’d build artists’ markets. That’s what I take from him.” 

On top of what she learned from Brady, Rosenthal brings her own unique approach to dealing. As NADA‘s director Heather Hubbs put it, “She has this infectious, warm energy. A lot of people are very inspired by her, I hear it from gallerists all the time.”

This year at NADA, Rosenthal put together an exuberant group presentation of work by Joel GaitanSusan AlvarezIsabella CuglievanJohnny DeFeoAnn Won, and Jeff Wigman. “Her booths are so considered, there’s always a focus,” Hubbs said. “This year it feels like a flower focus. She’s just really inventive with the way she approaches installation.”

While the art world watches Rosenthal’s star begin to soar, she herself continues to struggle with imposter syndrome (as many women in the art world tend to do, although they should absolutely stop).

Never in a million years would I have thought this would get to this point,” she gushed. “I’ve worked with so many different galleries and so many different artists, and its just so fucking nice to work with artists who are fun to work with, and are nice to you. It’s fucking wild! And it’s my taste in there! It’s wild.”

WHAT YOU MISSED IN MIAMI THIS YEAR

Art Basel Miami Beach in one photo: Alex Israel bro-ing it up with Diplo at his dinner presented by Capital One and The Cultivist. Photo by Annie Armstrong

And now, my dear readers, I present a smattering of stray observations I’ve made this week in Miami, to be interpreted as you like. 

  • White Cube’s annual party was moved from Monday to Tuesday night this year, so that it would coincide with the opening of the fair, which makes sense, but was kind of a bummer because it’s become such a tradition to kick off my week on their dime at Soho Beach House. Luckily, the Nota Bene boys took it upon themselves to throw the party to get things started at the Edition, and pretty much all the powerplayers who would be at White Cube showed up to hobnob late into the night.
  • Though Noah Horowitz’s first year at the helm of the fair was technically last year, this year was the first where his changes could be felt. From the chatter in the booths, that looked like a revamped floorplan divided into four quadrants, rather than centered around the nucleus of the Ruinart station, and a more lax approach to the VIP opening, where several people without first-choice cards were admitted entry anyways. And many plucky former NADA gallerists made it into the main tent this year, including 56 Henry, Mrs., and Bradley Ertaskiran
  • On that note, a few remarked that Marlborough didn’t present at any of the fairs this year, and rumor has it they weren’t admitted though they applied. Also, looks like Vito Schnabel came to the fair for the first time? 
  • Many think that working in the arts is for softies. I’m not so sure after this year’s ABMB. To wit, I heard that someone’s baby was bitten by a dog at the main fair (the baby is okay, according to my sources), and at a party Lomex threw, I saw someone get their hair lit on fire.
  • Most everyone who comes to Miami for the week seems eager to do at least one non-art related thing while in town, as made evident by the massive crowd at the Japanese female wrestling tournament Sukeban
  • People who feel jaded about coming to Miami are a dime a dozen. What I’m much more interested in are the people who continue to love it, like Alex Israel, who told the crowd at the launch of his pop-up frozen yogurt stand Snow Beach Frozen Treats with Capital One and The Cultivist, “I actually love coming to Miami. It’s the only place where my sunglasses dont feel like pure affectation.”

WE HEAR

 

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Loic Gouzer‘s auction app Fair Warning has made its triumphant return… The Hammer Museum has acquired one of Daniel T. Gaitor-Lomack’s fantastic sculptural works as well as a recent painting by Greg ItoMatthew Barney took a particular liking to Mitchell Charbonneau’s Foundations show at Off ParadiseMorgan Presents is opening space #2 in Chelsea next spring… Think your commute to Miami this year was bad? Artist Elberto Muller took a freight train from New York City all the way down to Magic City… 

 

SPOTTED

 

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Sarah Nicole Prickett didn’t let Artforum off easy in the comment section of their announcement of their first issue post-Velasco’s firing *** Lin Han, the co-founder of the M Woods Museum got a fresh tattoo of his dog drawn by Florian Krewer at the artist’s big opening there (captured by the indomitable Matthew Higgs) *** Eve Fowler was among the stunt-models cast in Balenciaga’s big show in Los Angeles ***  The best pre-Miami party last week had to have been Worthless Studios‘s gala, where guests like Everette TaylorJordan Huelskamp, and Alicia Mersy were all prompted to wear denim, making it not a gala but a jala *** And lastly, this is perhaps one of the best “life imitates art” posts I’ve seen in a while *** 


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