Larry Gagosian and Artist Anna Weyant Step Out on the Town, Buyer of Last Week’s $21 Million Basquiat Outed, and More Art-World Gossip
Plus, which art-media company just had an epic shakeup at the top of the masthead? And which HBO star had jewelry made by Rashid Johnson?
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]
CLEARING THE AIR ON A PUBLIC AFFAIR
This past weekend, at my Wet Paint predecessor’s party at the Fotografiska-adjacent Chapel Bar in New York, the arrival of a certain VIP guest seemed to change the direction of the wind on Park Avenue South. “It’s like the Pope just arrived,” a dealer friend of mine remarked, pointing toward the doorway. There stood none other than Larry Gagosian.
It was hard to tell whether the seismic shift in the room came from Gagosian’s presence, or from the woman by his side: up-and-coming artist Anna Weyant. Their arrival—him in a navy blazer and a black polo; her in all black—seemed to be a fairly brazen visual confirmation of a rumor that had been circulating for months, which is that the 76-year-old titan of industry is dating the 26-year-old Canadian rising star.
Gagosian is known to have dated former assistants, art dealers, and models like Shala Monroque—but never an artist (to our knowledge). In 2019, Page Six reported that Gago had called it quits with his longtime girlfriend Chrissie Erpf, a senior director at the New York gallery. At the time, the newspaper said that the dealer—who has been implementing sweeping changes to the structure of his business as he undertakes succession planning—had moved on with an unnamed “much younger woman.”
To be clear: I’m not the first person to report on this relationship. My colleague Kenny Schachter mentioned that Gagosian and Weyant recently vacationed in St. Tropez as a couple. They’d also been spotted together at an Albert Oehlen opening in London and at Larry’s most recent birthday party. But all that can only carry so much weight until you ask the sources directly what’s going on.
Gagosian, who rarely responds to requests for comment on the art market, artists he represents, or other matters, took the time to clarify (via a representative) that he “bumped into Anna,” who is his “good friend,” at the party. Coincidentally, this language was pretty much verbatim repeated by Weyant when approached for confirmation of their relationship. She wrote in an email to Wet Paint: “Larry is a good friend. We didn’t arrive together but I was happy to bump into him at the party.”
Since those who dish it out should be able to take it, let me now volunteer that I am, like Weyant, 26 years old, and have had a May-December romance or two in my adult life. People tend to assume a lot of things about these types of relationships, and you know what they say about what happens when you assume.
Plus, who doesn’t bump into friends and more-than-friends at parties that you may or may not have both coordinated attending in advance? Who is to say that we don’t “bump into” our own families when we arrive for Thanksgiving dinner? What’s a relationship without good friendship? Who needs labels in 2021 anyway?!
Weyant enjoyed a meteoric rise before Gagosian entered the picture. I first encountered her work at the Upstairs Art Fair in the Hamptons in 2019, where 56 Henry’s Ellie Rines was selling her paintings laid out on an Al Freeman Jr. beach towel for $450 a pop. (I kick myself for not shelling out for one, but at the time, I could hardly afford the fare for the Hamptons Jitney. I digress.)
After she was included in a group show at Half Gallery last year, the artist was scooped up by Blum & Poe and prices for her paintings shot up into five figures. In June, her graphite drawing of bare legs sold at Phillips for $27,720, almost four times its high estimate. Works in her sold-out Los Angeles show this past spring topped out around $50,000, and now fetch as much as $300,000 on the secondary market, according to sources.
Half Gallery’s Bill Powers says he introduced Weyant’s work not only to Blum & Poe, but also, the summer before last, to Gagosian, who eventually bought one of her works. That is presumably when the two became “good friends.”
Just remember, kids: There’s only one thing that can spread faster than rumors of Larry’s love interests, and that is a certain virus. I heard that the party last Friday left several people COVID positive. Larry and Anna, if you’re reading this, maybe it’d be a good idea to bump into each other at a testing facility.
BASQUIAT BUYER UNMASKED
It wouldn’t be the change of the season in New York City without chatter about what record-breaking Jean-Michel Basquiat piece is next slated to come to auction. Already, people are buzzing about The Guilt of Gold Teeth (1982), which is estimated to rake in around $40 million at Christie’s New York next month.
If the piece hammers near its estimate, it’ll nearly double the recent sale of another Basquiat at Sotheby’s Hong Kong last weekend. Untitled (Red Warrior) (1982) sold for a relatively modest HK$163 million ($21 million)—making it something of a steal in the generally red-hot market for 1982 Basquiats.
Wet Paint can exclusively reveal that the buyer of this piece was none other than gallerist Christophe Van de Weghe, a known collector and seller of Basquiat’s work. This disclosure also reveals something about the Basquiat market: it may not be quite as hot in Asia as we think. With fees, the piece came in on the low end of its presale HK$150 million–$200 million estimate ($19.3 million to 25.7 million); the hammer price of HK$140 million was under estimate.
“Everyone thought it would be an Asian person that bought this piece, but no, it was me!” Van de Weghe—who is based in New York, specializes in European and American art, and who my editor thinks looks weirdly like Christopher Nolan—told Wet Paint over the phone. Last month, the dealer brought another 1982 Basquiat, Hardware Store, to Art Basel, where it was among the priciest works at the fair. (He was asking $40 million.)
Van de Weghe wouldn’t reveal whether he purchased the latest work for himself, for stock, or for a client (those lines get blurry in this business anyway). “I was pretty shocked that I was able to buy this piece at this price,” he said. “It’s an absolute masterpiece. It has all the characteristics that you want in a Basquiat painting. So I was surprised I could buy it at such a small price, but there was no Asian competition!”
*** Chef Danny Bowien and artist Carly Mark drinking wine and smoking cigarettes at the signing for Chloe Wise’s new book, Second Nature, on the roof of the Swiss Institute *** Busy Phillips dining at Chelsea favorite The Orchard Townhouse *** Liev Schreiber biking against traffic in the bike lane on Bleeker and 6th Avenue *** Mr Doodle and his recently betrothed Mrs Doodle sauntering out of LUX, the experiential art show at London’s 180 Strand, featuring work by Es Devlin, Julian Knxx, and Carsten Nicolai (no artwork was doodled upon in the process) *** Artists Joshua Citarella, Jake Sillen, and Kristen Wentrcek at the opening of Rash, a new bar in the area around Myrtle Broadway that was recently dubbed Grimes Square (which, coincidentally, is where Wet Paint is filed weekly) *** Dan Colen watching the performance he orchestrated at Anonymous Gallery with a sound installation by Gang Gang Dance’s Brian DeGraw *** Jeremy Strong a.k.a Kendall Roy a.k.a Logan’s Number One Boy at the premiere for Succession’s new season sporting a dog tag custom-designed by artist Rashid Johnson ***
Marion Maneker is out at Penske Media, where he took over as editorial director of art media properties in 2019, and he took Art Market Monitor with him, leaving Sarah Douglas in charge of both ARTnews and Art in America (A.i.A’s William Smith left last year) … Lower East Side stalwart restaurateur Jon Neidich, who owns nightlife staples such as Ray’s, Le Crocodile, and ACME, among others, has his eyes on the vacant space next to Clandestino in Dimes Square … Speaking of restaurateurs, former Christie’s CEO Steven Murphy expressed his admiration for national treasure and art-world watering-hole provider Keith McNally in a new New York profile … Real Pain now represents Hend Samir, the buzzy Egyptian artist based in Amsterdam and Cairo …
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