MoMA Curator Is the Victim of a Terrifying Shark Attack, Larry Gagosian Gets Lasik, and More Juicy Art World Gossip

Plus, what beloved New York author signed up for Threads? Who showed up to Jay-Z's "Book of Hov" opening party?

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].


It’s a spooky time in the architecture world. Over the course of just a few weeks, we’ve born witness to David Adjaye’s despicable fall from grace, and the revelation that the grisly Gilgo Beach Murders were at least partially committed by architect Rex Heuermann, whose work in New York City has included buildings for Target, Nike, Foot Locker, and even our beloved Cipriani (gasp!). 

Now, in a twist, it seems something horrific has happened to an innocent architect. Wet Paint hears that Martino Stierli, the chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art, was the victim of a shark attack this past weekend. 

While I couldn’t get in touch with Stierli directly, sources close to him confirmed that he is in fact okay, and noted that it was more like “a bite” than a full-blown attack. 

During this summer lull in activity, I have a little bit too much time on my hands, so I was actually able to find a cameo by the curator in a local news segment by Newsday TV about the rising presence of sharks on Long Island beaches (pictured above). In the video, Stierli is briefly seen walking normally into an ambulance that is taking him to a hospital in Fire Island, doesn’t appear to be in pain, and only seems to have a small cast on his hand. Phew! 


Larry Gagosian attends the Trophee Des Arts Gala at the Plaza Hotel on October 28, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/WireImage)

Larry Gagosian. (Photo by Andrew Toth/WireImage)

Speaking of sharks… let’s pivot to Larry. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what if the beholder who is selling the beauty has an eye condition that has been worsening over the last few years? If you’re the most famous art dealer in the world, the answer is to undergo Lasik eye surgery earlier this year, Wet Paint has learned.  

Gagosian gallery didn’t respond to my request for confirmation that this is true, but as Larry turned 78 this year, it would appear to be a good time for a tune-up considering that vision typically begins to deteriorate in one’s forties and Larry has used his peepers pretty arduously over the years. 

If this strikes you as a slow-news-cycle Wet Paint item, well, yes, you’re partially correct. But also! Let’s look at this from the greater context of what’s going on with the big dog LG these days. Less than a year after Gagosian announced that his advisory committee would double as his succession plan, Wet Paint understands that Vanity Fair journalist and Bugsy Siegel scribe Michael Shnayerson is typing away at an “un-authorized” biography of the world’s most famous art dealer—though, as I revealed last week, it appears Empire of Pain journalist Patrick Radden Keefe will probably beat him to the punch with his own in-depth profile of the press-averse dealer for the New Yorker. It all has the makings of a retrospective moment for the legendary art-slinger, though we know in our hearts that Larry is warming up for a late-period run of glory equivalent to Picasso’s “Mosqueteros.”

Baby sharks, beware.


After the dissolution of her former gallery Queer Thoughts, Diamond Stingily has found new representation with Greene NaftaliSargent’s Daughters has brought on ​​Christine Nyce as their associate director, and Sofia Love as digital director…. The Astor Place Cube (or Alamo, which is its art-world name) is back and spins once again, prompting many to joke about their concern for the man who lives inside Libbie Mugrabi has been hit with a lawsuit, alleging she stiffed her staff of their wages and even physically attacked one of her maids… 


*** Lil Uzi Vert, Kennedy Yanko, Mickalene Thomas, Josh Safdie, and DJ Khaled were among the guests at the Brooklyn Public Library’s opening for Jay Z ephemera, “The Book of Hov,” and I wonder if that incredibly random group of celebrities will ever be in the same room again *** Troye Sivan dining alone outside at Bacaro *** Jay McInerney has inexplicably joined Threads *** 


Lisa Schiff, 2021.

Lisa Schiff, 2021.

Its about time I get ahead of the inevitable crash-and-burn narrative of Lisa Schiff, the advisor who is set to turn herself in next week for the Ponzi scheme advisory system she had created. My request is simple: who could play Schiff in a Tár-esque biopic of the disgraced advisor? Email your response to [email protected], and as always, the winner wins their very own pink Wet Paint hat.

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