Sotheby’s Hired the TikToker Who Said He Bought a George Condo, Artist Leaves Gallery Over Beeple Show, and More Art-World Gossip
Plus, what artist fed her own blood to writer Rachel Rabbit White? What's the New York Post saying about Issy Wood? 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].
SOTHEBY’S LOOKS TO TIKTOK TO ATTRACT YOUNG BUYERS
@gstaadguy You call it art, I call it a physical NFT on canvas #art @Sotheby’s ♬ Faneto – Chief Keef
According to Art Basel and UBS’s annual report, millennials are the most prolific collectors of any demographic, so it makes sense that I often feel like the auction houses can be a bit cloying when trying to get the attention of us young folk.
For instance, remember when Sotheby’s got The Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti to co-curate an auction with the Italian art dealer of the same name just because they have the same name? Or remember when the auction house released a line of streetwear inspired by Old Masters?
Sotheby’s most recent foray into capturing the attention of the youth involved a bit of a ruse.
The TikTok personality known as Gstaad Guy posted a video from Sotheby’s London’s “The Now” sale (which in and of itself is a ploy to get young buyers in the door) last week with the caption: “You call it art, I call it a physical NFT on canvas #art @Sotheby’s”.
According to the video, Gstaad Guy was there to buy George Condo’s Green Head Composition (2013)—and succeeded for “a couple M’s” which he called “a quick bargain for your boy.”
According to the Sotheby’s website, the piece’s final sale price was £2.3 GBP, or about $3 million. “It goes crazy,” Gstaad Guy surmised, before flexing his head-to-toe Rick Owens ‘fit.
Comments on the video range from amazed (“Bro how do u have so much money” and “Legend”) to enraged (“Feels like he just likes to flex”).
The video has garnered about 644,000 views, but Wet Paint has some unfortunate news: he didn’t get the piece.
“It’s pure satire,” the voice behind Gstaad Guy, whose real name is Mac, said over the phone. In fact, the piece went to a buyer over the phone, and Mac was paid by Sotheby’s to come to the auction and create some content around the sale, and in fact, the piece went to a collector in South East Asia, the auction house told Wet Paint.
Pretty savvy move by Sotheby’s, no? Gstaad Guy, whose PFP is in front of a Takashi Murakami flower work, claims to have the highest concentration of ultra-high-net worth followers of any social media personality, including about 50 people on the Forbes Top 200 wealthiest list. He wouldn’t say how much Sotheby’s paid him, but its a pretty clever way for Sotheby’s to get the #richkidsonTikTok talking about auctions.
WHO’S AFRAID OF THE BIG BAD BEEPLE?
Whether you like him or not, it’s become increasingly clear that the art world really doesn’t know what to do with Beeple. Denying that the 40-year-old NFT artist has been hugely important would be simple Luddism. But it’s also clear that embracing him too tightly can be… complicated.
For evidence, see the case of dealer Jack Hanley.
Last week, Hanley opened “Beeple: Uncertain Future” at his New York gallery, making it the artist’s first-ever solo show (remarkable isn’t it?). The exhibition features—gasp!—art that you could actually touch: digital prints, drawings, and paintings, each of them accompanied by a non-fungible token.
My colleague Katya Kazakina revealed last week that many of Hanley’s artists weren’t happy with having the show at their gallery. In fact, at least one was willing to go so far as to leave the stable.
Emily Mullin, a relative newcomer to the gallery who had her second show there back in April 2021, and who focuses largely on furniture design and ceramic sculpture, decided the scene really wasn’t for her anymore, Hanley told Wet Paint. “She didn’t think [she was] a good fit with the work of Beeple,” he said.
Mullin did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
But even though Hanley lost one emerging artist, he seems to have otherwise dodged a bullet. Back when the story broke, it appeared that five more artists were also calling it quits on the gallerist, at least according to a list drawn up by writer Greg Allen listing which artists allegedly had gone missing from the gallery’s website since October.
The artists who supposedly joined Mullin to say goodbye to Hanley specifically because of Beeple were Amy Douglas, Nikki Maloof, Alicia McCarthy, Danielle Orchard, and Andrei Roiter.
That’s a lot of artists—and a lot of female artists to boot. In fact, the list includes the majority of Hanely’s female stable.
As a female and a skeptic of Beeple’s artistic merit myself, I could understand why someone wouldn’t want their art associated with Beeple’s often misogynistic, racist, and furthermore just tacky imagery. But this did feel like a pretty intense reaction to just one show.
So I put the list to each artist repeatedly, but only Douglas wrote back, telling Wet Paint that Hanley is “flipping awesome,” and that she plans to show with him as soon as she has a new body of work. So there’s that.
And although neither Maloof, nor McCarthy, nor Orchard, nor Andrei Roiter got back to me, when I put the full list of artists to Hanley, he told me he still represents McCarthy but that “we don’t represent Danielle Orchard, Nikki Maloof, but it was unrelated to Beeple. We haven’t represented Andre Roiter for a long time.”
He also told me the real reason the artists’ names were removed from his website was so it would comply more closely with the Americans With Disabilities Act, which mandates that webpages make reasonable accommodations for anyone with visual disabilities.
Nicelle Beauchene has added the (excellent!) sculptor Kari Cholnoky to her roster … Grimm, meanwhile, has added London-based painter Gabriella Boyd to its stable … Phillip March Jones, who curated a selection of works from Michael Stipe’s collection at the Outsider Art Fair last week will open his own space in the East Village this summer … Tribeca will welcome its newest art dealer, Charles Moffett, this weekend at his new space at 431 Washington Street … Adam Driver and wife Joanne Tucker are fêteing Colleen Barry and Will St. John tonight at Caelum Gallery …
Daniel Arnold photographing artist Sophia Giovannitti feeding her own blood to writer Rachel Rabbit White on the 14th floor of the Bowery Hotel following a special performance in conjunction with a show at Duplex *** Works by Douglas Kirkland and Norman Carton in the New York City brownstone owned by Baz Luhrmann *** Josh Safdie browsing the Outsider Art Fair, apparently having made a purchase, as he had a wrapped canvas in tow *** Simon de Pury and Sylvester Stallone bro-ing out at the amfAR gala and auction in Palm Beach *** Jerry Saltz once again posting a completely out-of-pocket and overtly problematic tweet that infuriated many *** Issy Wood expressing both excitement and dismay over her first piece of press in the New York Post ***
WET PAINT IN THE WILD
Melissa Bent and her husband, Michael Phelan, are, to me, the royal family of Marfa, Texas. Phelan, an artist, founded the Marfa Invitational, and Bent is a gallerist and the founder of Bent Contemporary,as well as a New York expat who was the first ever to exhibit trailblazing artists such as Dan Colen, Shara Hughes, and Dash Snow, among others. The duo kind of feels like the sun and moon that the town revolve around, so I thought, who better to take my wonderful Wet Paint audience on a tour of the town?
WET PAINT QUESTIONNAIRE
Last week, I asked you to name the tackiest location of a mega-gallery.
While I would have gone with Hauser & Wirth in Menorca, gallerist Marco Estrella picked the gallery’s Monaco location, and writer Lanya Snyder quipped that Gagosian’s St. Barths‘s location was “made for a Page Six story just cause Larry has a house there.” Artnet News’s editor-in-chief Andrew Goldstein volunteered Larry’s space above a Zara in Piccadilly Circus in London.
My question this week is: What’s the best meal you’ve had in any museum restaurant in the world? Email your responses to [email protected]
I’ll be out on vacation next week, reinvigorating my Southern charms and Laissez les bons temps rouler in lovely New Orleans, so don’t expect a column until March 24. In the meantime, try not to do anything I wouldn’t do.
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