Zwirner Lands a Septuagenarian Star, and More Juicy Art World Gossip

Plus, Larry David makes his debut on the gallery circuit.

Scott Kahn in his Brooklyn studio, June 2021. Photo: Tom Powell Imaging. Courtesy of Almine Rech.

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].


Even in a time of unusual art-market trajectories, painter Scott Kahn‘s has been pretty special.

To condense a longer story: Over the past six or seven years, the 77-year-old artist has gone from living in his cousin’s attic, more-or-less dismissing his painting practice as a hobby, to selling out shows with Harper’s and Almine Rech at prices between $290,000 and $1 million

How did that happen? The late painter Matthew Wong helped bring his work to the fore by posting it on his Instagram, and once the right eyes were on Kahn’s precise, luminous landscapes, the art world could not get enough. “Greatness eventually wins. He’s our Magritte,Harper Levine told my colleague Katya Kazakina two years ago, when the market was in a frenzy for his work.

Kahn’s auction record was set at Christie’s postwar and contemporary art day sale last November, when his somber, meditative painting Twilight sold for $819,000. He also recently appeared on CBS News to share his late-in-life success story, where it was revealed that Mary Boone is among his boosters. “It has primitive aspects to it, and it’s spiritual,” Boone said of his work on the program. “It’s dreamlike, and people are attracted to things they don’t completely understand.”

At a time when some recent market sensations are receiving bad news, I’m heartened to report that Kahn appears to be doing well, and according to a well-placed source, he is joining the blue-chop roster over at David Zwirner. The gallery did not respond to a request for comment, so take this as a very strong rumor, for now. (I have been right about this kind of thing before.) Keep your eyes on representation announcements.


Comedian Larry David and his wife walk a red carpet.

Larry David and his wife, Ashley Underwood. (Photo by Rich Fury/VF22/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

I have figured out one surefire method for winding down after a particularly blustering week: a glass of Sancerre, my wiener dog Weezy on my lap, and a couple episodes of Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. It works every time. 

I know I’m not alone in lamenting the end of the show’s illustrious 12-season run. But I have some good news, fellow fans: The ultimate kvetcher has been making the rounds of New York galleries lately, pounding the pavement just like one of us! Perhaps he got a taste for the art scene while filming season 10, when he created a doodle that failed to sell at a charity auction?

David could not be reached for comment, but Wet Paint can confirm that he had an appointment with his wife, producer Ashley Underwood, at Clearing‘s gallery on the Bowery, where they checked out its current group show, which includes work by Raque Ford, Hwi Hahm, Terence Koh, Megan Marrin, and Melvin Way. Clearing’s founder, Olivier Babin, would not say if they bought anything, but offered, “Oh yes, he has definitely come by the gallery.”

The Seinfeld co-creator joins a fine selection of comedians who have become regulars on the art circuit over the years, like John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell, who are always on hand at Frieze Los Angeles. I’ve reported that Nathan Fielder is a bit of a collector, as is Eric Wareheim, and Eric Andre is usually spotted hanging around during Art Basel Miami Beach.

David is not the only Curb cast member spending time in New York. I recently saw Susie Essman, who plays the indomitable Susie Greene, speak at the annual Planned Parenthood of Greater New York Gala, where she mingled in a crowd that included advisor Sarah Stein-Sapir and curator Jasmine Wahi and got her photo taken in a photo booth made for the event by Judy Chicago.

Come on in, you two, the water is just fine.


It was the slip heard ‘round the Upper East Sidejust making sure that you guys also saw dealer-collector Adam Lindemann slip into an Yves Klein installation at Lévy Gorvy Dayan on the Upper East Side this past weekend… Gladstone director Simone Battisti has resigned from his position as partner with the gallery, a role he has held since 2012… Among the people being summoned repeatedly over the loudspeaker to verify their travel documents on their respective JFK–VCE flights were White Cube director Courtney Willis, artist Melissa Joseph, El Museo del Barrio director Patrick Charpenel, and former Artforum editor David Velasco… The good people at Chinatown mainstay The River, Yasmin Kaytmaz and David Komurek, are rumored to be opening up a restaurant in the increasingly trendy South Street Seaport… All is right in the world: The Neue Nationalgalerie’s director, Klaus Biesenbach, and musician Patti Smith got together once more to enjoy their favorite carrot salad at the Central Asian restaurant Uma’s out in Far Rockaway


No one disputes that Los Angeles is a full-fledged art destination anymore. One of many reasons: The MOCA Gala at the Geffen Contemporary routinely proves itself to be the best museum gala of the year. On Saturday, the event saw actor Keanu Reeves and his painter-girlfriend Alexandra Grant mingling with the museum’s president of the board of trustees, Carolyn Clark Powers, artist Max Hooper Schneider creating site-specific artworks for the event (I miss when his works speckled the Chelsea High Line, don’t you?), and St. Vincent performing for the late-night crowd, which included Los Angeles artists like Lauren QuinChristina Quarles, Catherine Opie, and Jordan Wolfson. Cheers to a good party. See you next week.

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