A Scammer Is Posing as Cindy Sherman’s CEO, Dua Lipa Is Actually a Legit Art Collector, and More Art-World Gossip
Plus, what product is Jeff Koons really, really into right now? And our loyal readers pick their favorite restrooms in Chelsea.
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].
BEWARE! SCAMMERS ABOUND!
This week, Cindy Sherman took to Instagram to decry an ongoing email scam wherein someone calling themselves Robert Randy, who claims to be the CEO of Cindy Sherman Photography, sends around emails claiming to be the artist’s casting agent.
“This scam has been going around for years and as much as I’ve tried to stop it, it keeps rearing its pathetic head in different names,” Sherman wrote.
Of course, the punchline comes from inside the house: if you’re at all familiar with Sherman’s work, you know she only takes self-portraits.
“THERE IS NO PHOTO SHOOT!” Sherman said. “I NEVER WORK WITH MODELS.”
This wasn’t the first time I’d seen this scam. While I haven’t personally been asked to model (explain to me the psychosis that makes me offended by that?), I know of at least one person who has been asked to participate: the photographer Daniel Arnold.
“[It’s] such a misguided and bizarre scam attempt,” Arnold told Wet Paint. “This aspiring model in the Bronx keeps hitting me up to ask if they’re real, and I keep breaking her heart.”
Arnold said he’s also received similar emails from people claiming to work with other famed photographers, such as Sally Mann, Annie Leibovitz, and Alec Soth.
“The scam seems to come in waves, where I’ll learn about several people being contacted for a few weeks, and then it will slow down for a little while, only to start up again a few weeks later,” a representative for Soth’s studio told Wet Paint. “Alec and I have not been able to figure out how to stop this, especially since we aren’t the target of the scam.”
The email claiming to come from Soth says it will pay models $7,000, and—in a completely bizarre detail—claims to be in partnership with sportswear brand Adidas.
It’s not entirely clear what the scam is, because the person behind the emails never explicitly asks for money. But it is disconcerting to imagine what might happen if someone showed up to a nondescript location expecting Sally Mann but receiving… “Robert Randy.”
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It’d be too easy to laugh at people who get fooled by these emails: I can recall how crestfallen I felt during my first summer in New York City, excitedly hopping off the train from my internship in Williamsburg, telling my friends that someone scouted me as a model, and that I’d only have to put down $1,000 for headshots and camera fees. It’s just how you pay your way in!
Yeah, I know it’s weird that it’s “modeling for Christ,” but we’ve all got to start somewhere, right? Suffice it to say, I’d fallen for one of the oldest tricks in the scammer book, and all because it played on my own narcissism.
Neither Sherman nor Randy (whoever that is) responded to requests for comment.
INTRODUCING, DUA LIPA: ART COLLECTOR!
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If lurking celebrity Instagram accounts were a sport, I’d be in the Hall of Fame, because you’ll never believe what I found.
Pop star Dua Lipa posted a #photodump onto Instagram last week, and deep inside of it lay a great Easter egg: behind what appears to be her desk is a big, beautiful painting by none other than Eddie Martinez.
His gallery, Blum & Poe, confirmed that the painting was indeed by the artist, who just so happens to have a show up at its Los Angeles space titled “Pigeon Sweat.” The gallery was a tad cagey: although it wouldn’t confirm that she did buy it, neither did it say that she didn’t. But it could be a safe bet, as the artist has been seen in several art circles, and has been photographed with Los Angeles based collective FriendsWithYou.
According to the Artnet Price Database, Martinez’s market has seen a huge growth in the past three years, with paintings by the painter selling for as much as $2 million. Last year, his collectors raked in $11.5 million from auction sales alone, and we hear that his work is increasingly popular in the Asian market.
A few months ago, Wet Paint also reported that Billie Eilish has also been collecting, as she added a piece by Anna Park to her collection. While many celebrities have been hopping on the crypto-art train, this could be indicative of a smaller class of pop-star collectors who are more interested in old school, analogue art.
Dua Lipa could not be reached for comment.
*** Succession’s Nicholas Braun on Instagram, vibing out over some broramics with Grant Levy-Lucero *** Adam Lindemann, David Zwirner, and Max Hollein chatting it up at the Met’s opening of Charles Ray’s new retrospective *** Vito Schnabel in neon streetwear, including neon ski goggles, outside his Chelsea gallery *** Jerry Saltz and Kathy Griffin tweeting their pitch for what I believe to be the worst idea for a television show ever *** A Hug From the Art World, the nomadic gallery helmed by Gagosian’s Adam Cohen, back in Chelsea on West 19th with a new show of 100 “Scream paintings,” all made in the span of one month, by Jamel Robinson *** Paris Hilton chatting with Jimmy Fallon about their Bored Apes—the whole thing felt very Lynchian *** Breitbart taking a cut of the traffic from Art Basel’s takeover of the Grand Palais from FIAC ***
Salon 94 will close after a final suite of exhibitions (featuring Shawanda Corbett, Daniel Hesidence, and Celia Vasquez Yui) to officially transform into art-market conglomerate LGDR … Jeff Koons revealed himself in a Wall Street Journal profile to be a big fan of Yeti thermoses … SPRING/BREAK in Los Angeles will move to a new location in Culver City, and this year’s programming includes the debut solo show of paintings by actor Alia Shawkat … James Fuentes may be opening a space in Los Angeles, hot on the heels of Sean Kelly doing the same … Petzel has named Francesco Longenecker as its new director, who joins from Nara Roesler gallery … Dan Colen‘s Sky High Farm has announced $250,000 in grants for “individuals working in agriculture, food justice, and/or land sovereignty” …
WET PAINT IN THE WILD
K.O. Nnamdie, the director of Tribeca’s Anonymous Gallery, and the owner of his own itinerant curatorial practice, Restaurant Projects, really seems to be everywhere. Whenever I run into him, he’s generally the guy at the party who I’m excited to share a cigarette with, and to hear about some of the art he’s been loving. Plus, whenever I’m with him, something wild happens: recently, we got matchas one afternoon and, like a soothsayer, he predicted that John Legend and Chrissy Teigen were about to walk out of the building behind us. Then they did!
What better source could there be for a week of Wet Paint In The Wild?
WET PAINT QUESTIONNAIRE
Last week, I asked you all about the best place to go to the bathroom in Chelsea. I certainly have my answer for the worst place, but I was delighted to find out how many people feel so opinionated about this!
Lexi Bishop, who works for Pittsburgh gallery Here, said she tried a lot of them, but that “Zwirner’s at 20th Street was the best.” New York Times video journalist Vaughn Vreeland said it “used to be Barney’s :/ but the newly renovated Bed Bath & Beyond is great.” Meanwhile, podcaster and writer Alex Delany said La Colombe on 11th Street wasn’t a bad bet; Brooke Wise went with Cafe Grumpy; while art handler Berkley Kirsche and writer Larissa Pham both name-checked Pace.
Gagosian director Sarah Hoover kept it local, naming the gallery for all of its “multiple private mini rooms,” while also taking the chance to call out Cookshop for not maintaining hygiene protocols. (“Why so gross?!”)
Writer Wallace Ludel confessed that he’d memorized the code for NY Burger Co.‘s bathroom, and the Art Newspaper‘s Ben Sutton said The Kitchen wasn’t a bad place to, you know, go.
Perhaps most boldly, artist Seth Fountain named the front garden of what appeared to be a private residence. (Good for you, Seth!)
I’m sure that after this gets published, most of these places will install locks with codes, so enjoy it while it lasts.
My question for you this week is: What is the sexiest artwork in any New York museum? Send your replies to [email protected].
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