The Glimchers Circle the Basquiat Estate, Downtown Dealers Flock to the Catskills, & More Juicy Art-World Gossip
What gallery's flier looks a lot like one artist's artwork? What's the vanity plate of Sotheby's owner Patrick Drahi? Read on for answers.
Every week, Artnet News Pro brings you Wet Paint, a gossip column of original scoops reported and written by Nate Freeman. If you have a tip, email Nate at [email protected].
BASQUIAT SHOW’S A BOON, FOR REAL
The biggest show of 2022 is already “King Pleasure,” the first Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition organized by his siblings, who oversee the estate of the most expensive American artist to ever sell at auction. It will take over a big space in the Chelsea monolith that is the Starrett-Lehigh Building, and feature hundreds of never-before-seen drawings, paintings, and sculptures.
Clearly this will be a dynamo, funneling tourists from the High Line straight into the exhibition—but that’s not what art industry insiders are talking about. They want to know if any of the works are for sale.
Basquiat’s sisters, Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux, said through a spokesperson that the works will not be for sale. Yet forces behind the show suggest there may be a commercial component. Look no further than the event’s producer: Superblue, the big expensive interactive art initiative started by Pace president Marc Glimcher. While official press materials mentions Superblue, which opened its Miami headquarters across from the Rubell Museum earlier this year, there’s no explanation of what it means that they are producing the show.
Two sources said it’s a chess move by Glimcher to get closer to the Basquiat family, which has resisted signing up for official gallery representation for decades, denying a mega-gallery the spoils of the market’s most reliable money-maker. While Superblue’s spiel says it’s a separate entity from Pace, both are run by Glimcher, and multiple sources close to him said he runs both entities as part of the same machine (the Superblue staff even worked out of Pace’s Upper East Side space before going remote in March 2020). It’s not the Glimchers’ first official rodeo with the Basquiats. In 2016, the sisters partnered with Pace Prints to sell 85 editions of a print of Flexible (1984/2016) for $40,000 a pop. (Arne Glimcher was also friendly with Basquiat, and said he would come by the gallery’s 57th Street space to see Dubuffets.)
The involvement of Superblue means that another person involved, at least tangentially, in “King Pleasure” is Laurene Powell Jobs, a founding partner of Superblue. Sources who have worked with her investment arm, Emerson Collective, said she has been involved in all things Superblue insofar as she’s involved in all thing Emerson. And while Powell Jobs has long been a supporter of the art world, it’s worth noting that her boyfriend is Eleven Madison Park chef and owner Daniel Humm. Long revered as a god in foodie circles, Humm in recent years had become a reliable presence in art-world circles as well, and has installed works by Rita Ackermann, Roni Horn, and Daniel Turner in his restaurants. (Humm also famously runs marathons with his close friend Vito Schnabel, and sometimes even beats him.)
Naturally, the auction world wants a piece of the action too, which explains why Phillips is listed as a sponsor. The third-place gavel-smackers have always had a leg up in the Basquiat game thanks to their head of 20th-century art, Scott Nussbaum, who’s long been the one dealer who firmly has the ear of the Basquiat family. Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux met when Nussbaum was at Sotheby’s, and two sources said he can keep the gravy train of big-ticket consignments coming by offering them perks and kickbacks that the other houses couldn’t match. His colleagues are left to watch without a cut, as apparently Nussbaum ensures that all Basquiat business goes through him—while they also scratch their heads wondering why he doesn’t go private and reap the commissions all by himself. Either way, don’t expect the only long-term proceeds from the show to be from the tourists buying tickets.
Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux did not comment beyond saying they did not plan to sell the works. Reps for Phillips and Superblue didn’t respond.
BACK TO SCHOOL FOR TEAM OF DEALERS
Sometimes it feels like every nook and cranny in the Hamptons has been taken over by galleries. Did you know that even Jack Hanley has a space out east, right on Newtown Lane? Well, you do now! But the ritzy hamlets on the east end aren’t the only weekend towns getting taken over by the dealers. Up and down the Hudson River, contemporary art concerns have been infiltrating the villages that once seemed content with their cute little stores hawking cheap antiques to city-dwelling weekenders.
A few weeks back we revealed the new Kingston storefront Airfield, run by Artadia founder Carolyn Ramo, dealer Franklin Parrasch and the curator Anna Gray. Jayne Drost Johnson, formerly of Peter Freeman, opened JDJ The Icehouse in Garrison, New York, and Nicelle Beauchene and Parrish have been running Parts and Labor in Beacon since 2019. Bowery gallery Geary opened in Millerton this year. And now, we hear that Mendes Wood DM is opening a gallery in Germantown, the adorable Hudson Valley town that’s been turned into something of a gallery hub by Alexander Gray, who added a gallery to the existing community of antique and furniture shops.
In Claverack, a series of Tribeca-aligned dealers are close to signing a lease on a massive storage space where they can stage exhibitions in a ground floor space. Those involved include Andrew Kreps, Anton Kern, Bortolami, James Cohan, and—wildcard alert!—Mexico City’s Kurimanzutto. They are going in together to buy a massive house built in 1869 that was once a part of Claverack College, which closed in 1902. It was the home of the exiled Russian artist Mikhail Chemiakin until 2007, and it was recently listed on the market at $1.5 million.
Three sources said the lease is expected to be signed in the coming weeks.
The building will mostly be storage space for the galleries, but two sources said the ground floor could be ready for exhibitions as early as this fall, with the galleries sharing programming. And it’s only 10 minutes from Hudson—which is still full of artists and galleries, despite the fact that Marina Abramovic quietly gave up on building her institute there some years back.
And coming this summer is the second annual Upstate Art Weekend, which will coincide with “NADA x Foreland,” an exhibition in an historic building by the river in Catskill, put together by the beloved satellite fair in collaboration with Jesse Greenberg. The Hudson River Valley. It’s the place to be.
A handful of readers knew that last week’s clue was the actor and fit god Jonah Hill standing in front of a work by Will Boone. Winners are: collector and patron Bryan Weiss; Derek Parsons, vice president and senior press officer at Sotheby’s; Noah Davis, head of digital sales at Christie’s; the art advisor Montserrat Palacios; and Suzanne Geiss, founder of the Suzanne Geiss Company and board president of Performance Space New York.
Congrats to the winners! Here is this week’s clue: name the artwork here, shown from behind, and the owner. Bonus points if you can name the consignor, too.
Send guesses to [email protected]. Winners gets hats and an entry to the pantheon of former quiz winners.
Hauser & Wirth will partner with the Fondazione Lucio Fontana on a show of sculptural works at the gallery’s uptown space at 32 East 69th Street, the exact space where Fontana had his first solo show in the U.S. … Lyles and King have opened a second space, just around the corner from its current space on Catherine Street, at 19 Henry Street in Chinatown … Tramps has two new spaces, one in Washington Square Park and one in Clinton Hill …
… Nick Buckley Wood, who for years has headed up all Asia operations for Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, joined Sotheby’s as director of private sales in Asia, based out of Hong Kong … Max Teicher has left Gagosian to start an agency that reps artists … The flier for “Social Work,” the Antwaun Sargent-curated show at Gagosian, looks a whole lot like a flier that the graphic designer Bráulio Amado made for a Juan MacLean DJ set at Good Room in 2017—the connection was first pointed out by Condé Nast Visual editor Arjun Ram Srivatsa, and for what it’s worth Amado doesn’t seem all that mad …
*** Patrick Drahi’s car waiting outside the Sotheby’s Mayfair HQ with plates that read YE55 BOS *** Eugenio Lopez with Mexico’s pop star icon Paulina Rubio *** Nancy Pelosi at Balthazar *** Chris Rock at Fanelli in SoHo … Dakis Joannou’s Jeff Koons-designed boat Guilty pulling into the Hydra harbor for the opening of the Massimiliano Gioni-curated show at the Slaughterhouse *** A ton of people at in-person gallery opening parties, finally de rigueur again: people at Dorrian‘s for the Zak Kitnick-curated group show—which has the remarkable title “TOES, KNEES, SHOULDERS, HEADS + BUTTS & GUTS”—at Meredith Rosen, while both Off-Paradise and Lomex celebrating at Forlini’s *** George Condo at Altro Paradiso, his driver waiting in the Bentley on Spring Street through the duration of the meal … One more car-related spotted: a Tesla with a vanity tag reading DUCHAMP, found in the wild by Kasmin staffer Chandler Allen …
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