David Zwirner and a Star Artist Part Ways, Guerrilla Artists Stink-Bomb the Whitney Biennial Party, and More Art-World Gossip
Plus, what rock stars showed up to the Whitney? Which artist is backing billionaire Rick Caruso for L.A. mayor? Read on for answers.
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].
DAVID ZWIRNER AND HAROLD ANCART PART WAYS
It’s pretty rare to see an artist leave behemoth David Zwirner gallery, so you can imagine my surprise when Wet Paint learned that Belgian-born, New York-based painter Harold Ancart is officially no longer represented by the gallery.
Ancart, who made his debut with Zwirner in 2018, is known for his large-scale abstract paintings that are often comic-like depictions of horizons and the natural world. He was introduced to Zwirner by Harry Scrymgeour, a former partner at Clearing gallery who told Artnet News in 2018 he thought the painter was a perfect fit for the mega-gallery.
Ancart, you can imagine, was excited. “David Zwirner’s program is probably one of the best in the world,” he told Artnet News that year.
It seems like Ancart did well for Zwirner over the years. The gallery routinely hawked his paintings of lone matches and icebergs at fairs, selling them for as much as $300,000 a pop. His secondary market has been on a steady trajectory since he joined the gallery. Nineteen of his top 20 auction prices have been set since 2019, and last May, he broke seven figures for the first time when a very pleasant oilstick painting of flowers fetched $1 million at Sotheby’s New York‘s contemporary evening sale. The estimate was $600,000 to $800,000. Last year, $3.5 million worth of his work sold at auction.
Since his Zwirner debut, Ancart’s works have been displayed far and wide, notably at this year’s Whitney Biennial (where he showed up to the opening night party), and at the knockout 2019 Public Art Fund commission in Cadman Plaza Park, where he mounted a concrete sculpture emulating a handball court titled Subliminal Standard. His work is in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, DC’s Hirshhorn Museum, Paris’s Fondation Louis Vuitton, and the Beyeler Foundation in Basel, among others. There have also been rumors that Frank Ocean owns some of the artist’s work.
Ancart broke into the broader art-world consciousness in 2016, when the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston acquired and presented a series of 27 oilstick on paper works that he created on an epic trans-America road trip. (He transformed the trunk of his jeep into a makeshift studio and pulled over anytime he saw something that inspired him.)
So why did Ancart and Zwirner part ways? Both parties declined to comment, but you can’t stop me from speculating. Does it have anything to do with the fact that last year, Ancart was said to be dating actress Dianna Agron, who has also been linked to Zwirner scion and head of content Lucas Zwirner? (Despite rumors from Instagram celeb-gossip factory Deuxmoi, however, sources told Wet Paint that Zwirner and Agron were not dating, and had merely been at a few of the same parties.)
Another source close to the artist simply told Wet Paint that he “left quietly as he felt he needed to refocus solely on his work.”
THE WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN FART
Did you guys smell that too? Last night, at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s second party for the 2022 Whitney Biennial, guests noted a certain… aroma.
I know the old aphorism—whoever smelt it, dealt it—but in this case, Wet Paint can reveal that the unpleasant scent wafting through the museum galleries was the work of two anonymous artists who cracked open a (harmless, health-wise) stink bomb. The duo wouldn’t call the smelly blast an artwork per se, but instead labelled it “a reaction” to the crapiness of contemporary New York.
“There’s a metaphorical stink of stagnancy over New York and the folks in power are trying to ignore it,” one of the fart bandits told Wet Paint. “They want to live in denial that their old way is stinky. I’m just revealing the truth.”
This wasn’t the first time they’ve struck. Stinky events at the Jane Hotel and Lucien have been made actually smelly by the perps, and the launch of Lucien Smith’s NFT project was also stink bombed. So was Julia Fox’s famed birthday party back when she was dating Kanye West. “It smelled very farty,” a source told Wet Paint.
Where will the prankster artists strike next, I wonder? Will they make the trek over to Venice? Or will they stay local, haunting the New York art scene? Stay alert out there, party people.
Rooney Mara taking a smoke break in the West Village *** Gallerist Alex Shulan Tweeting at Ryder Ripps about whether Bored Ape Yacht Club’s imagery is racist *** On that topic, Madonna is now the latest celebrity to ape in *** Futura and Marc Jacobs telling a group of students about the time they first met at the legendary club the Roxy during an event hosted by Free Arts NYC *** All five of the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Whitney Biennial’s opening party, as well as Diamond Stingily, Wu Tsang, Arthur Jafa, and Ebony Haynes *** Mills Morán hosting a Whitney after-party at Dr. Clark’s, where Telfar Clemens, Chloe Wise, Antwaun Sargent, and Kayode Ojo were all present *** Francisco Correa Cordero, Lucas Zwirner, and Marlene Zwirner at the re-opening of Entrance after its renovations *** Don and Mera Rubell looking at a Cynthia Talmadge painting out of the back of Ellie Rines’s van ***
Comme des Garçons is collaborating with Dan Colen’s Sky High Farms to create a clothing line that Sam Hine and Ella Emhoff will model … Artist Justin Owensby got Sotheby’s tattooed on his knuckles … Jacolby Satterwhite created a short film for musician Perfume Genius … Mark Grotjahn is on the hunt for a PA to help him set up Zoom calls—if you’re hired for this job and oversee any juicy meetings, you know who to come to … Chloë Sevigny and Karma director Siniša Mačković are renewing their vows (“or something like that”, Mačković clarified to Wet Paint), and Sevigny has been posting some cheeky bridal ware on her Instagram … Seminal black metal band Mayhem have been filming something (a music video, perhaps?) at Lomex Gallery … And speaking of black metal and high art, Satyricon’s Sigurd Wongraven will have a show at the Munch Museum in the home of black metal, Norway …Miles McEnery Gallery is opening their fourth space at 525 West 22nd Street next month, providing an additional 7,000 square feet, bringing the gallery’s footprint to 26,000 square feet, across 22nd and 21st Streets…Artworks by novelist Tao Lin are going to be on display at Ka-Vá Kava and Kratom bar in Williamsburg…Beloved Little Italy eatery Forlini’s is officially shuttering some time next month… Alex Israel has taken to Instagram to voice his support for billionaire Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick Caruso, a known supporter of anti-abortion politicians …
WET PAINT IN THE WILD
The founders of the Spring/Break art fair, Ambre and Andrew Gori, are as freewheeling and spirited as the fair itself. The couple have a dizzying appetite for learning about emerging art, and are reliably two of the most fun people at any given party. Their immaculate vibes are what allowed them to take over Wet Paint in the Wild without the requisite disposable camera—an allowance given to very few! Let’s see what they got up to…
WET PAINT QUESTIONNAIRE
God, I love subway art! Who wouldn’t be a sucker for the Marcel Dzama mosaic at the Bedford stop in Williamsburg? Or the Mickalene Thomas piece at 53rd Street?
I’m glad you all share my enthusiasm. Last week, I asked you to name the best subway mosaics in New York, and the answers came pouring in.
Flack Sarah Goulet wrote in to say that, “according to my 18-month-old daughter, it’s William Wegman’s dogs at 23rd Street, but I’m partial to Nancy Spero’s mythical women at Lincoln Center.” Nazy Nazhand voted for the Beaux Arts-style ceramics installed by Squire Vickers, “including the 28th Street station, which is a stunning example.”
Artist Christina Welzer agreed with me about the Dzama, but also named Monika Bravo‘s work at the Prospect Ave stop. “But it’s definitely not the dogs in Chelsea,” she added. (Artist Farah Al Qasimi, meanwhile, agrees with me that the Wegman dogs rock the house.)
Art advisor Jay Grimm volunteered Joyce Kozloff’s mosaic at 86th Street, “with a close second being Elizabeth Murray’s coffee cups all over the Bloomingdale’s stop.” Katharine Overgaard, director at Franklin Parrasch gallery, named Jackie Ferrara’s installation Grand Central: Arches, Towers, Pyramids.”The tiled nature of this extensive mural lends itself so well to the concept of modularity which is central, I think, throughout Ferrara’s oeuvre,” she added.
Phillips public relations director for the Americas, Jaime Israni, said she just “wanted to give some love to Michele Oka Doner’s installation at the 34th St-Herald Square.”
My question for you this week is: Which art dealer is the best at video games? Write in your answer to [email protected].
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