Inside the Awards Ceremony for the Art World’s Most Downtrodden Underclass, the Roth Bar Returns to Chelsea, and More Juicy Art World Gossip

Plus, what hot new artist couple showed up to play at the Lesbian and Bisexual Backgammon League? Who is penning a new profile of Larry Gagosian for the New Yorker?

The simple joys of bookkeeping. (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/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].


We are all too well aware of who the art stars are. Gallerists, artists, and curators? Art industry employees worship them, mythologize them, and pander to them. Hell, I’ve even somehow landed a salaried job to keep tabs on their various escapades. But as we all know, the flashy names don’t tell the whole story of the freewheeling art market. 

Hence, art-handling company Atelier 4’s founder Jonathan Schwartz hosted Registrar of the Year Awards back in 2019, which comes with a chunky $5,000 award. After a hiatus during the pandemic, the awards are back for 2023, and Schwartz is currently accepting nominations. 

Registrars are so important, but they’re kind of low in the pecking order,” Schwartz, who has liaised with quite a few registrars through his company, told Wet Paint. “A good registrar is an amazing asset. They’re the first and last line of defense!” Any other good qualities? “They’re the paragon of organization,” he gushed.

In 2019, the award went to Rajshree Solanki who was the intrepid head registrar of the Hirshhorn. A full awards ceremony was hosted at Artist’s Space in Chelsea, with Clinton Lowry, founder of Art Handler Mag, serving as the juror. This year, the awards will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Schwartz currently resides, and Dr. William U. Eiland, who is director emeritus of the Georgia Museum of Art, will serve as the judge. Oh, also: a Janis Joplin cover band has already been booked to perform at the ceremony, so buy your plane tickets now! 

Though the award itself may seem a wee bit silly, I honestly can’t imagine a position more deserving of recognition. Personally, I can barely keep my social calendar organized, so I have no clue how these guys can keep a full gallery’s inventory in pristine order. Plus, it seems like a somewhat thankless job—the first employee most of my gallerist friends will complain about is their registrar.

Schwartz is a font of sympathy for the difficulties of their calling. “You have these gallery owners who become museum directors. They introduce some insane elements to their curation, and registrars have to be like, ‘No, you can’t do this.’ It starts with the curator and then goes to the registrar, and we’re the last ones that have to deal with the show.” 

As of now, there are only seven nominations listed on the site, with the window to nominate closing on Tuesday. Let’s show them some love, what do you say?


The newly-installed Roth Bar. Courtesy a tipster.

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you’ve likely heard me mewl about how there’s no good place to get drinks in Chelsea. I could put Pablo Neruda to shame by writing a dirge on the loss of our dear, sweet Rusty Knot. I reported, with a great deal of sadness, that the Hawthorneone of the last few passable dive bars in the area—closed this Spring. I refuse to spend $18 on a martini from Cookshop—what is this, the Trois Rois? Fuhgeddaboutit. 

But wait, is that a mirage? An azure wellspring in an otherwise dry desert? No, I think it’s real! 

Great news everyone: Hauser & Wirth’s beloved Roth Bar is returning to Chelsea this fall, Wet Paint can exclusively confirm. After Labor Day, the bar (which is actually a functional art installation made by Dieter Roth, hence the name), will start serving beverages to weary gallery-goers during openings and events at 443 West 18th Street, the newest site for the gallery that also will house their Hauser & Wirth Publishers bookstore. 

To provide some context, the Roth Bar has relocated a few times since it was first designed by Björn and Oddur Roth, Dieter’s son and grandson, in 2015. Their father was known for building a bar in every place he worked, including exhibition installations. In the early 1980s, he conceived the maximal and hectic-looking bar using found materials, often incorporating beer bottles emptied by visiting revelers.

Thus, the Roth Bar has become closely associated with the gallery, representing a cross-generational project by the Roth family. It was previously moved to the old Dia building on 22nd Street, and temporarily closed when the new complex down the street opened.

Art historical relevance aside, I’m excited to have a place where I can go grab a decent drink during a gallery crawl. I’m sure I’ll see you there.


Cardi B’s taste in painting was not favored by the art-world insiders on Twitter… The winner of the Bernard Meadows work on paper that sold for $127 without a guarantee at Phillips in London was a fellow art journalist for the Canvas, which I simply love to hear… Peter Brant and Stephanie Seymour’s townhouse on 93rd Street apparently “hadn’t been touched for 30 years” before getting listed for $23 million (what’s this about a housing crisis in New York, Mayor Adams?)… “Empire of Pain” journalist Patrick Radden Keefe is apparently writing up a profile of Larry Gagosian for the New YorkerChelsea Clinton is a closet Jeanette Hayes fan…



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Caroline Polachek posing with her Chloe Wise portrait at Marianne Boesky Gallery *** Nan Goldin waiting for a cab outside of Bar Pitti on a rainy Sunday evening *** The ladies of the Lesbian Backgammon League are kicking back into gear, and hosted a game last night at 52 Walker, with Nicole Ripka walking away with the $780 prize after competing with Stefania BortolamiEllen SwieskowskiRachel Rossin, and hot new art-world couple Nicole Eisenman and Ambera Wellman, among many others *** Anthony Haden-Guest was among the unlucky guests at Robert F. Kennedy Jr.‘s flatulent press dinner *** Jessie Landon renting out a party bus with Alexander Wang and Mandie Erickson on it for his guerrilla art project outside of Gagosian in Chelsea on Wednesday night *** 


Last week, I asked you all who you’d cast as (1) an unassuming art student, (2) Maurizio Cattelan, and (3) an enraged Emmanuel Perrotin in a movie about the fabled banana, which continues to get eaten by art students. The winner goes to artist Hernan Bas, who suggested Owen Teague to play the student, Crispin Glover to play Maurizio, and insisted that Emmanuel really ought to play himself, which I love. Thank you Hernan!

I’m going to take a break this week to catch up on mailing out these hats. See you next time. 

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