Two Art World Nepo Babies Join Forces, East Hampton Law Enforcement Targets the Ranch, and More Juicy Art World Gossip

Plus, which Hollywood A-lister is picking up a painting hobby? Who should play Larry Gagosian in a biopic?

Dylan Brant, left, and Max Werner, right. Courtesy of Dylan Brant and Max Werner.

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].


The sweltering temperature is finally dropping in New York City, which means that, in exchange, the art circuit is about to heat back up again. We only have a couple more aimless, lazy days of August left before the dam breaks and our schedules fill up with an endless slate of September openings. And Wet Paint has learned of one that might be of particular interest. 

The combined pedigree of Dylan Brant and Max Werner is enough to put even the most keyed-in art world nepo-babies to shame. And, oh, dear God, they’re organizing! That’s right, Dylan, the son of mega-collector Peter Brant, and Max, the son of Mary Boone and Michael Werner, two of the most famous gallerists in the world, are joining forces for a pop-up show in SoHo this fall of the Neo-Expressionist art that they both grew up around. 

“It’s not a vanity thing, but it is kind of a biographical thing, and kind of a nostalgia thing,” explained Werner, who decamped from a role at his father’s gallery late last year to join David Totah, and who now has his eyes on opening his own space. “It’s a test run in a number of ways for me,” Werner said. “It depends on how this goes. I’m weighing my options, and I have a lot of good options.” 

So how’d the partnership come about? “We sat down for coffee in the Upper East Side and we talked about Max’s ambition to open his own gallery, and my ambition to, well, I don’t really know what my ambition is,” laughed Brant. (It’s worth noting that he runs his own art space in Palm Beach with Stéphane Timonier.) 

As for the Neo-Expressionist show, its scope is quite ambitious, encompassing work from the 1980s to the present by a spate of artists including Jörg Immendorff, Josh Smith, Karen Kilimnik, A. R. Penck, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, with a sharp focus on German painters. “Our objective is to put together works that should be obvious that they should be together. It’s kind of like the idea of putting together a compilation album of the rock musicians who came out of Laurel Canyon in the ’70s,” Brant remarked. 

The gallery space at 575 Broadway. Courtesy of Dylan Brant and Max Werner.

The show opens up next month (at a not-yet-confirmed date) on the sixth floor of 575 Broadway, the office building Dylan’s father has owned since the late 1980s and which  previously housed his media holdings. (You’ll also recall that in 1991, Brant had the property redesigned by Arata Isozaki to become “the Guggenheim Museum SoHo,” which lasted just under 10 years.)

The show will only last through December, but the partnership may forge on beyond that. While Werner is actively looking for a space to hang his own shingle, he’s also hoping to keep things going with Dylan. As he put it, “I don’t want to count any chickens before they hatch, but its been really nice to work with Dylan and I like the idea of working with a partner. That’s been really valuable on a personal level.”



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Looking back on it now, my, my, what a scandalous summer we’ve had. There have been gallery breakups and dissolutions, a whole new slate of art world fraudsters, and, of course, my personal favorite, the high-end turf war that spiraled into a slap fight out East. In case you missed it, this month I reported on the neighborly dispute between rival art dealers Max Levai and Adam Lindemann and the corresponding fallout with the town of East Hampton. Tl;dr, both dealers have had to go to court this summer, Lindemann for criminal trespass and harassment charges, and, more recently, Levai for improper zoning regulations for his mixed-use gallery space the Ranch

And now, Wet Paint has an update. 

Two weeks ago, Levai was asked to appear in court in the town of East Hampton to answer a complaint filed by a neighbor over Levai’s use of agricultural land for commercial use. According to local paper the East Hampton Press, the town has now authorized their local attorney’s office to pursue legal action against Levai. 

As supervisor to the town board Peter Van Scoyoc put it, “They are doing exhibitions, selling artwork, they’re having events intended to attract buyers, they’re doing advertising.” Van Scoyoc also reported that Levai had ignored several previous citations over zoning issues with the Ranch, which, as I reported in my piece, opened up a second commercial location on a dock a few miles away that is billed as an extension. 

Levai couldn’t be reached for comment about the threat of legal action, but as we already know from his entanglements leaving Marlborough Gallery, he’s no stranger to pushing back in court. 

I’ll be waiting to see how this new development plays out, and keep you up to date on everything I know. For now, one thing I can certainly guess is that Adam Lindemann is somewhere on Eothen with binoculars, smiling a Grinch-y grin as he waits to see whether a cop car pulls up to his neighbors house.



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A new DIY space seems to be “rising from the ashes” of the recently shuttered Public Access, according to its founder Leo FitzpatrickVarious Small Fires now represents Texan painter A’Driane Nieves… The notoriously pay-to-play gallery Agora posted a job search for a full-time unpaid intern (shocking)… Ben Lee Ritchie Handler has been officially named a partner at Nicodim GalleryApparently “Elvis”-star Austin Butler is hobbyist painter inspired by the brushstrokes of Francis Bacon…  


Ivy Getty and Gaia Matisse partying together at Southampton Art Center’s “Summerfest” party (speaking of highly pedigreed duos) *** Celebrity soccer coach Angelo Peruzzi and David Mugrabi drinking martinis late night at the Nines *** KAWS, Nas, Kimberly Drew, Lee Quinones, and Tschabalala Self eating food prepared by Ghetto Gastro at Amant in Brooklyn to celebrate Farfetch‘s Futura collaboration. *** 


Last week’s prompt asked my dear readers to cast both young and old Larry Gagosian in the inevitable biopic about the world’s most famous art dealer. Martha Fleming-Ives, senior director at Greene Naftali, won: “Young Larry is Jake Gyllenhaal. Old Larry is hands down Richard Gere.” I could see it, can you?

Casting call will be on a break for a sec while I get caught up sending out all these Wet Paint hats. Otherwise, see you next week.

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