A New Reality Show Awards the Winner a Solo Exhibition at the Hirshhorn, Basel Is Getting a Hot New Club, and More Art-World Gossip

Plus, what art stars stopped by MoCA LA's annual gala? What tainted former museum director is opening a new space? Read on for answers.

The Hirshhorn Museum. (Photo by Yana Paskova/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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].


About once a decade, the execs over in the Hollywood Hills decide it’s time to take a piece of the emerging-artist pie by gamifying their ceaselessly entertaining market into a reality TV show. In 2005, it was ArtStar, wherein Jeffrey Deitch pinned eight young artists against one another to compete for a solo exhibition in his gallery, with an impressive slate of established artists there to guide them, including Jeff Koons, Kehinde Wiley, Lee Quiñones, and Alan Vega from the band Suicide. Then, in 2011, it was Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, which ran for two seasons and saw Jerry Saltz, China Chow, and Simon de Pury judge a slate of artists who were duking it out for a show at the Brooklyn Museum

That model is being recreated once more, as the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, is the latest institution to dangle a solo exhibition in the face of an emerging talent. The casting call is for emerging artists, but Wet Paint got the low down on who exactly has been approached for the show. Designer and sculptor Misha Khan will apparently be participating, while Chloe WisePeter Zohore, and Jamian Juliano-Villani were asked to participate and declined. But all seriously considered it (I can imagine any of them giving a juicy reality TV-style soundbite). 

“I went through many rounds of auditions with it,” Wise told me. “It sounds good.” 

Juliano-Villani even came up with a concept for how to be on the show, which involved wearing so many unlicensed company logos, like a Pepsi sticker on her forehead, that her entire person would be blurred out if shown on camera. 

Kate Gibbs, who works in communications at the museum, told Wet Paint that we can expect something resembling more the Great British Bake Off than the typical, hyper-competitive game-show set up. Primary filming has wrapped, but Gibbs couldn’t divulge the names of any cast members or a release date. But she did say it will be made available through CBS/Viacom on the Smithsonian Channel, and will be similar to Artstar in that established artists will come on as mentors. 

Though these shows haven’t historically had long runs, there have been successes. Rumor has it that ArtStar is where the Bruce High Quality Foundation formed, and the group’s fellow contestant, Abigail DeVille, has since shown with Hauser & Wirth.

Nicole Nadeau, an artist who participated in Work of Art, described the experience as “the world’s weirdest art residency.” Although it didn’t really further her career, she said, it was “a cool experiment that I did.”



Interior of the Basel Social Club. Photo by Gina Folly, courtesy of Basel Social Club.

The Three Kings better hold on to its hat, as a new watering hole for the art guard has reared its head just in time for the jetset to touch down in the Alps. Following the model of the Arts Club and Zero Bond, the Basel Social Club is the hottest new mixed-use art space on the map, opening only from June 13 through 19 for the duration of Art Basel in Switzerland.

In a villa erected in the 1930s called the Beverly Holz, members of the club can enjoy art by 50 local artists, food by local Chinese restaurant Peng, and cocktails by small-batch Swiss gin distillery Gentleman’s Gin described as “mysterious, but very elegant” by a local spirits blog. Basel is a notoriously expensive city to visit, so I was quite surprised to find that a day pass to the club is only CHF 15 for a day and CHF 30 for a week, which pretty much converts to the same US dollar amount.

It makes sense, really, to open a less-pricey hangout spot for the fair. Basel in Miami has Mac’s Club Deuce, after all, and sometimes drinking a $30 glass of wine just doesn’t really feel quite as relaxing as a $3 Budweiser.

“We believe Basel Social Club offers a playful and inspiring venue for visitors and locals alike looking for a less formal, less standardized environment to socialize, meet friends and clients, look at art, and enjoy live performances,” said art dealer Jean-Claude Freymond-Guth, who co-founded the club with business partner Robbie Fitzpatrick, artist Hannah Weinberger, and gallerist Dominik Müller.

Art will be scattered throughout the villa and its pool house. Among the artists participating are Lisa Alvarado, Jeremy Deller, Jill Mulleady, Meret Oppenheim, Soil Thornton, and Mie Yim.

The founders told Wet Paint that the Beverly Holz will be demolished within the year, so if you’re over there, this will likely be the only chance you get to check it out. If you go, please do report back.



Bill Arning, the former director of the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston who was accused in 2020 by several men of sexual misconduct, will open a new space in Kinderhook, New York … A new Asian-fusion restaurant has opened in the building adjoining MoMA—called 53 Restaurant, it has an art collection curated by Friedrich Petzel and soup dumplings that are to die for … O’Flaherty’s is getting booted from its current space in the East Village after its lease is up … Kanye West has apparently secured patents for a Yeezus NFT, which makes me feel exhausted in a way I’m not sure how to explain … Sprüth Magers has a new space on the Upper East Side … The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum restaged Adrian Piper’s iconic performance Whistleblower Catalysis this weekend for the first time in over 50 years … Prospect New Orleans has announced that Miranda Lash will become its new artistic director … Antony Gormley has apparently been thieving journalist Hazel Southwell’s trash bin … 



The scene at The School’s opening for its summer group show, “Stressed World”.

Paul McCarthy, Pipliotti Rist, Henry Taylor, Lauren Halsey, Michael Govan, Keanu Reeves, and Alex Israel at this year’s MoCA Los Angeles gala at Geffen Contemporary *** Jack Shainman’s upstate gallery, the School, hosting a picnic for its excellent group show, “Stressed World”—they may have ordered too much pizza, however, as Mika Rottenberg was spotted sneaking out with a full pie underarm *** Nan Goldin read the vows for the wedding of  P.A.I.N.‘s lawyer, Michael Sague Quinn, at the Guggenheim Museum *** Roxane Gay waiting for a table at the always delicious Via Carota *** Uma Thurman filming a project at the Kasmin space on 27th Street *** Ebony L. Haynes at the Christopher John Rogers runway show *** Protestors for the Starbucks union storming MoMA on the night of its annual Garden Party, this year honoring Mellody Hobson, the chair of Starbucks’s board of directors ***

Protestors for the Starbucks union efforts outside of MoMA. Photo by Annie Armstrong.


Alright, fair enough. It was kind of cruel to ask you to name the worst dancer, but I’m glad I got some intel into who may be the best.

Laurie Barron, a gallery associate at the Artist Room, said Tate assistant curator Fiontán Moran “has to be one of the best dancers in the art world.” Meanwhile, artist Khôi Nguyen named Simphiwe Ndzube, and I have personally born witness to Ndzube breaking it down at a Gavin Brown event.

Seeing as no one nominated a worst dancer, I’ll fall on my sword and admit that I am terrible.

Up next: What’s the best summer group show you’ve seen at a Chelsea gallery? Write in your responses to [email protected].

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