Eric Adams Gets COVID After Partying With the Art World, Skater Evan Mock Gets His Own Cryptocurrency, and More Art-World Gossip

Plus, Chance the Rapper hits up the Chicago gallery scene, and expert tips on rookie mistakes to avoid during the Venice Biennale.

Your Wet Paint scribe with hizzoner Eric Adams. This picture was taken before he got Covid.
Your Wet Paint scribe with hizzoner Eric Adams. This picture was taken before he got Covid.

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].

 

GALA SEASON PROVES TO BE ONE GIANT SUPERSPREADING EVENT

On Tuesday morning, I awoke, put the leash on the dog, and stepped outside for a walk around my neighborhood in Bed–Stuy. Loyal readers of this column will recall that our city’s mayor, Eric Adams, is (supposedly) my neighbor, which has given me some exclusive and often-unwanted access to some of his PR stunts and a few bizarre protests against his mandates. Even though he really doesn’t seem to live there at all.

On this particular day, I passed by his apartment and noticed a man ringing the doorbell and holding what appeared to be a carryout bag. Huh, I thought. Why would he have food delivered to his fake apartment in Bed–Stuy? A quick look at the morning’s headlines explained the mystery: he tested positive for COVID-19. (I should add that he is reported to be holing up in Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side. But really, couldn’t he be just anywhere??)

I had suspected this might happen. Why? Well, Adams was spotted at a number of high-falutin art and fashion events in the days before he tested positive, and some of the attendees told me that they, too, had tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. If Art Basel Miami Beach 2021 taught us anything, it’s that the art world has a bad habit of generating superspreader events. 

Concerned? Take a test! Or otherwise, allow me to act as your personalized contact tracer.

 

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Last Thursday, April 7, Mayor Adams was spotted at a Valentino dinner held at Bergdorf Goodman’s, where writer Rachel Seville Tashjian spotted hizzoner sitting right next to Sarah Hoover. Also in attendance was Gossip Girl star Thomas Doherty (more on him in our second Wet Paint item, below).

“I basically grilled him for 40 minutes about his arts and culture platform, and he gave me his number to set me up with the deputy mayor to have a meeting,” Hoover told Wet Paint. “I actually found him very engaged and interesting, but unwilling to defund the police for me.” 

Oh, and just FYI, Hoover confirmed to me that she now has COVID-19. Yikes!

Next on the docket for Mr. Mayor was the opening of artist Roy Nachum’s new show at at A Hug From The Art World‘s new permanent space on West 19th Street in Chelsea, in the former Timothy Taylor gallery. Also spotted at the scene were artist Darren Bader, Kith founder Ronnie Fieg, and former Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah.

Here, Adams grinned it up with ADFTAW’s founder and Gagosian director Adam Cohen, who told Wet Paint that he does not have any COVID-19 symptoms. Good news on that front.

Then, a few days later, Adams was on the scene at the Brooklyn Artists Ball, where Hank Willis Thomas, Swizz Beatz, Judy Chicago, and, *checks notes* Majority Leader Chuck Schumer were all milling about. (Schumer—he’s still got it!)

Al Sharpton and Mayor Eric Adams at the 2022 National Action Network Convention in New York on April 7, 2022. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Al Sharpton and Mayor Eric Adams at the 2022 National Action Network Convention in New York on April 7, 2022. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

The next stop for our absolute flaneur of a mayor was the Reel Abilities Film Festival at the IAC Building on West 18th Street, where he hobnobbed with Robert De Niro and the event’s honoree, filmmaker Victor Calise. Somewhere along the way, he also made it over to the 2022 National Action Network Convention, where he was much closer than six feet in proximity to the Reverend Al Sharpton.

Internet snooping leads me to believe this was the final stop of his action-packed evening, which puts party monsters like me to shame. Mayor Adams, seriously, where do you get the energy for all this? I get tired after opening a blank Google doc.

I was not personally in attendance at any of these events, and am thus safe from our bio-hazardous Mayor (unless his disease can spread through walls). That said, even though I may not agree with most of his policies, I am glad to hear Adams is doing okay. As gala season rages on, remember to test frequently and wear a mask responsibly. You never know who might be writing a gossip column about your life… 

 

A PENNY FOR YOUR CLOUT

Evan Mock at the 2021 Met Gala. (Photo by Angela WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Evan Mock at the 2021 Met Gala. (Photo by Angela WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

I’ve been privy to what historians will one day see as a quaint time in the downtown New York scene when social currency was only social, and not financial. A certain party I attended this weekend, where I learned that downtown darling Evan Mock is set to release his own cryptocurrency, $MahCoin, this month, leads me to believe that may be a thing of the past.

Alright Boomers. Before I get into the deets, here’s the explainer on who this guy is.

Mock is a Hawaiian skater and surfer who rose to prominence when Frank Ocean reposted a clip of him skateboarding in 2019. The clip was shot by Tom Sachs, then on a trip to Hawaii, where he spotted Mock in a skate park and asked him to “say hi to Frank” because of their matching bright pink hair.

Mock obliged, unaware that Sachs’ friend Frank was that Frank, and since then, he’s become one of the most-watched skaters of his generation, a model for Calvin Klein, a star in the Gossip Girl reboot, and one half of a veritable power couple with Gray Sorrenti, the daughter of fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti

With a CV like that, it’s arguable that Mock has more clout than anyone on the Lower East Side.  So it makes sense that he’s trying to figure out how to monetize his celebrity on the blockchain. 

Enter crypto-agency P00LS

P00LS describes itself as “the leading community-first, decentralized protocol for creator social tokens.” Translated to English, this means that public figures can create crypto-currencies to allow their fans to gain exclusive access to whatever these creators have to sell. For Mock, picture backstage footage from the Gossip Girl set, unreleased skate videos, and maybe some hair-dying tips (P00LS at least confirmed the first two).

The coin is earned by engaging with Mock’s content, whether that be downloading a video or signing up for a newsletter.

“We create currencies for creators’ communities,” said P00LS founder Hugo Renaudin, who has already created currencies for DJ Aluna and music producer BLOND:ISH. “Our medium is technology and crypto, but the substance is about culture and community.”

As sort of a soft launch, P00LS threw a party for Mock’s birthday this past Sunday at Lower East Side hotspot Flower Shop. It was attended by downtowners including Sorrenti, musician King Princess, photographer and Faena hotel heir Sebastian Faena, power couple Ella Emhoff and Sam Hine, possible coronavirus vessel Thomas Doherty, and actress Luna Blaise, as well as old-guarders Yvonne Force Villareal and Daniel Arsham

“I like the fact that I can talk directly and authentically to a focused group of people that really get what I’m trying to do through my token,” Mock told Wet Paint. “That’s what the P00LS team is helping me do with my coin. Plus, they throw a banging party.”

 

WE HEAR 

 

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Film director and occasional surrealist painter David Lynch may release a new film starring muse Laura Dern at the Cannes Film Festival this year … Jim Carrey is rumored to be releasing his own NFT project, to be sold not on the Ethereum blockchain, but in its own, new circle of hell (just kidding) … Deborah Fisher from A Blade of Grass has stepped down from her role as executive director, and is “looking very forward to having the time to deepen my astrology practice” … Night Gallery will now represent painter Bambou Gili, and will present a solo show of her work next spring … A whistleblower that works in Damien Hirst’s Gloucestershire studio told Airmail that employees “worked for low wages, disemboweling dead animals, slicing them in two with giant saws, or standing in full protective equipment waist-deep in for­mal­dehyde, a chemical preservative”—yikes … Lauryn Hill is set to play the after-party for the opening of David Kordansky‘s first New York location later this month … 

SPOTTED 

Chance The Rapper.

Chance the Rapper at Mariane Ibrahim gallery in Chicago.

Chance the Rapper in his native Chicago during Expo week at the opening party for Zohra Opoku‘s new solo show at Mariane Ibrahim, which went well into the night *** Gala season is fully underway, and last week continued with the Poetry Project’s annual fête at St. Marks Church, which hosted Precious Okoyomon, Chloë Sevigny, Andrew Vanwyngarden, Eileen Myles, Telfar Clemens, Nate Lowman, Juliana Huxtable, Dawoud Bey, and Dasha Nekrasova *** On the same night was the Save Venice Ball, which attracted the likes of Ivy Getty, Nicky HiltonCasey Fremont, Sienna Miller, and Ezra J. William *** Sophia Cohen at the highly publicized wedding of Nicola Peltz and Brooklyn Beckham ***

 

WET PAINT IN THE WILD 

As I am a known narcissist, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to take over Wet Paint in the Wild myself again… Here’s what I got up to.

My weekend kicked off with a lovely start, running into my friend Jordan, a film and music writer, at the Chad Senzel Archive in Dimes Square. The surreptitious run in prompted me to invite him to Ata Kak’s show at Le Poisson Rouge later in the day.

The show is early in the evening, which is perfect for me. For the uninitiated, Ata Kak is a bit of a living legend: he's from Ghana, where he spent years making this irresistibly catchy and upbeat electronic music that's sung in a regional dialect. Pioneer Works helped schedule him to play in New York, and I am eternally grateful. At least something from his album "Obaa Sima" is a must on every party playlist.

The show was early in the evening, which was perfect for me. For the uninitiated, Ata Kak is a bit of a living legend: he’s from Ghana, where he spent years in anonymity making irresistibly catchy and upbeat electronic music sung in a regional dialect. Pioneer Works scheduled him to play in New York, and I am eternally grateful. At least one song from his album Obaa Sima is a must on every party playlist.

My friends Jacqueline, Kaili, Jordan, and Kimari at the show. We all got t-shirts, which we promptly layered over our clothes before we went out in East Village. We probably looked like a tour group to New York City wearing our matching shirts all together.

My friends Jacqueline, Kaili, Jordan, and Kimari at the show. We all got t-shirts, which we promptly layered over our clothes before we went out in the East Village. We probably looked like a tour group.

Before leaving, Kaili had to get resourceful to charge her Juul.

Before leaving, Kaili had to get resourceful to charge her Juul.

The next morning was spent with Weezy. It's hard to say whose wellbeing relies more on our daily walks.

The next morning was spent with my dog Weezy. It’s hard to say whose general wellbeing relies more on our daily walks.

Went for drinks with my best friend Becky at Balthazar. We play a game where anywhere we go, the first person to see someone we know gets a dollar. She won this time, and asked said acquaintance to take this photo.

I went for drinks with my best friend Becky at Balthazar. Wherever we go, we play this game where the first person to see someone we know gets a dollar. She won this time, and asked said person to take this photo.

Brief stop at Becky's apartment to borrow some high heels as I entered the first week of gala season. I still need to give them back to her--whoops.

Brief stop at Becky’s apartment to borrow some high heels as I enter the first week of gala season. I still need to give them back to her—whoops. If you’re reading this, Becky, I’ll bring you them at dinner Friday.

My first stop of the week is the Art Production Fund's gala uptown at The Grill. Full disclosure, I still get nervous going to these events, so I try to borrow some bravado from Nicki Minaj on the way uptown. Full volume, you'll notice.

My first stop of the week is the Art Production Fund’s gala uptown at the Grill. Full disclosure, I still get nervous going to these events, so I try to borrow some bravado from Nicki Minaj on the way uptown. Full volume, you’ll notice.

Lucky me, the first people I run into are my pals Brooke and Chloe Wise, who are the most fun and immediately shove a martini into my hand.

Lucky me, the first people I run into are my pals, the legendary sister act Brooke and Chloe Wise. They are the most fun, and because I’ve trained them well, they almost immediately shove a martini into my hand.

Chloe gets to chatting with John Currin about painting, figuration, etcetera. She told me they set up mutual studio visits, which I wish I could be a fly on the wall for.

Chloe got to chatting with John Currin about painting, figuration, etc. She told me they set up mutual studio visits, which I wish I could be a fly on the wall for.

There was a high school theme to the evening, and we were ushered into the dinner portion by a cheerleading squad.

Before we enter, Brooke and I escape to the bathroom for a quick, shameless selfie sesh. I'm pretty sure these mirrors are lit up to be exactly as flattering as possible, because in my mind I looked glowing and amazing but the harsh honesty of BFA photos confirms my suspicion that I am so pale that I am basically see-through.

Before we entered, Brooke and I escaped to the bathroom for a quick, shameless selfie sesh. I’m pretty sure these mirrors are lit up to be exactly as flattering as possible, because in my mind, I looked amazing. But the harsh honesty of BFA photos confirms my suspicion that I am so pale, I’m basically see-through.

Dealer Becky Elmquist and photographer Daniel Arnold, two rays of sunshine. If this indeed were high school, I'd ask to sit at their lunch table.

Dealer Becky Elmquist and photographer Daniel Arnold, two rays of sunshine. If this indeed were high school, I’d ask to sit at their lunch table.

Continuing on the high school theme, Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont win cutest couple.

Continuing on the high school theme, Mickalene Thomas and Racquel Chevremont won cutest couple.

The then-Covid negative Sarah Hoover, Sofia Karvela, Stacey Bendet, and Casey Fremont. I give them best dressed.

The then-Covid negative Sarah Hoover, Sofia Karvela, Stacey Bendet, and Casey Fremont. I give them best dressed.

The menu comes in a composition book, the napkins are designed by honoree Sanford Biggers, and the seating chart is dictated by personalized letterman jackets embroidered with your name. Mine mistakenly says "Anne" not "Annie", which is actually pretty accurate to the tone of who I was in high school.

The menu came in a doodled  composition book, the napkins were designed by honoree Sanford Biggers, and the seating chart was dictated by personalized letterman jackets embroidered with attendees’ names. Mine mistakenly said “Anne,” which gave me a feeling that was pretty accurate to high school.

 

WET PAINT QUESTIONNAIRE 

The Venice Biennale looms ahead, and for anyone who is attending for the first time, I went ahead and crowdsourced what might be the biggest rookie mistakes one can make.

Art advisor Louis-Philippe Van Eeckhoutte offered a throwback to a party foul of years past. “Overcrowd a jetty on the way to an exclusive cocktail party and end up in the Grand Canal, a 2015 classic.”

Jane Glassman, executive director of Los Angeles’s Fine Art Dealers Association: “Not realizing that the main event is in two separate Venice venues: the Arsenale exhibition, as well as the pavilions within the Giardini.” Art advisor and consultant Nazy Nazhand expounded on that one: “Let me tell you: wearing heels to the opening. Even I have had to surrender and wear practical shoes. That said, I remember about a decade ago when I used to wear my Jimmy Choo spikes and run around the streets of Venice and catch water taxis without a care in the world…”

So there you have it.

My question for you this week is: Who in the art world would it surprise you to find out was a total nerd in high school?


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