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.

Sotheby's Oliver Barker with Shara Hughes, Naked Lady (2019). Courtesy Sotheby's
Sotheby's Oliver Barker with Shara Hughes, Naked Lady (2019). Courtesy Sotheby's

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.

Mike Winkelmann at his exhibition, “Beeple: Uncertain Future.” Photo: Katya Kazakina.

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 BeepleDenying 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 openedBeeple: 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.

Mystery solved!

 

WE HEAR 

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 … 

 

SPOTTED 

Daniel Arnold, Sophia Giovanatti, and Rachel Rabbit White. Photo by Annie Armstrong.

Daniel Arnold, Sophia Giovanatti, and Rachel Rabbit White. Photo by Annie Armstrong.

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 ColenShara 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?

I couldn’t wait to get back to Marfa to document the week of February 14th and all the love that surrounds this dusty desert enclave. My first stop of course was to Sara Button’s (1) adorable Marfa Film Shop located in a micro adobe, where I purchased my disposable cameras - have not used one of these since Lisa Farjam & Brian Ackley’s (Bidoun Founder and Fortunes’s Ice Cream Tivoli) wedding at the Du Cap in 2009.

I couldn’t wait to get back to Marfa to document the week of February 14 and all the love that surrounds this dusty desert enclave. My first stop, of course, was to Sara Button’s adorable Marfa Film Shop in a micro adobe, where I purchased my disposable cameras. Have not used one of these since Lisa Farjam and Brian Ackley’s wedding at the Du Cap in 2009.

Saturday February 12th began the Valentine in Valentine festivities in Valentine, TX of course! Our friend Matt Kruger was celebrating 10 years of this beloved tradition he founded and the crowds really came out to dance and visit as they say in Texas with Bar B Que, Cloudy’s Desert Bistro and lots of music at the former Mercantile whistle stop. Michael and I have been coming to this party over the 9 years we’ve been full time in Marfa (2) and Saturday was a true reunion with so many Marfan’s tri county ranchers of all stripes taking part in a two step or three. The weather was unusually cold but that meant ski pants and puffers for me.

Saturday February 12: began the Valentine festivities in Valentine, Texas, of course! Our friend Matt Kruger was celebrating 10 years of this beloved tradition he founded, and the crowds really came out to dance and visit, as they say in Texas, with Bar B Que. Michael and I have been coming to this party over the nine years we’ve been full time in Marfa, and Saturday was a true reunion with so many Marfan’s tri-county ranchers of all stripes taking part in a two-step or three.
The weather was unusually cold, so that meant ski pants and puffers for me.

Ran into a long time friend, painter and fellow Marfan transplant Van Hanos with Ryan Kitson who was passing through on a way to do some hunting and of course Lawrence Johnson of Pure for Men, Victor Hugo and Fabian Prado (3) who are wonderful recent additions to the Marfan fabric.

Ran into a long-time friend, painter, and fellow Marfan transplant Van Hanos with Ryan Kitson who was passing through on the way to do some hunting, and of course Lawrence Johnson of Pure for Men, Victor Hugo and Fabian Prado, who are wonderful recent additions to the Marfan fabric.

We stayed and chatted till sunset as the bands continued to play on and the temperatures became a bit too frosty for my delicate sensibilities.

We stayed and chatted till sunset as the bands continued to play on and the temperatures became a bit too frosty for my delicate sensibilities.

Sunday was an al fresco techno dance party held at Vizcaino park -hosted by Trey Gerfers our noble prince of the Groundwater district, not such a drive as Valentine but lot’s of natural wildlife on the way.

Sunday was an al fresco techno dance party at Vizcaino park hosted by Trey Gerfers, our noble prince of the Groundwater district. Not such a drive as Valentine, but lots of natural wildlife on the way.

Monday was officially Valentine’s day and the beginning of the work week did not disrupt the mood to celebrate all things AMORE!

Monday was officially Valentine’s day and the beginning of the work week did not disrupt the mood to celebrate all things amore.

Marfa Open hosted a most festive and well attended gathering with Eileen Myles (pictured with their dog Honey) being among the manypeakers reading poetry and love letters, our local postman, James Race made delectable funnel cakes and of course Sara Button of Marfa Film Shop helmed the Photo Booth!

Marfa Open hosted a most festive and well-attended gathering with Eileen Myles (pictured with their dog, Honey) being among the many reading poetry and love letters. Our local postman, James Race, made delectable funnel cakes and Sara Button of Marfa Film Shop helmed the photo booth. Tuesday morning, I managed to catch Eileen walking Honey by the Paisano. I tried to take a photo of them at the reading, but was too bewitched by the text being spoken.

Willy Soma, photographer and proprietress of Jeff, had a wonderful opening at her gallery and artist space later in the week.

Willy Soma, photographer and proprietress of Jeff, had a wonderful opening at her gallery and later in the week.

The show is titled More Than Words Can Say. We got a sneak peek during install and came back to meet some of the artists and have a Topo Chico with friends Sarah Hirneisen artist and board member of ICOSA Artist Collective in Austin and her husband Seth Hodgson.

The show is titled “More Than Words Can Say.” We got a sneak peek during install and came back to meet some of the artists and have a Topo Chico with friends Sarah Hirneisen, artist and board member of ICOSA Artist Collective in Austin, and her husband, Seth Hodgson.

Part of living in the desert is being without the comforts of delivery - which has certainly improved my culinary skills. I always run into people at either The Get Go or the larger Porter’s grocery store. I was elated to see friend Carolyn Pfeiffer, renowned film producer, whose recent book of collected essay’s The Ocean is Closed by her late husband John Bradshaw. The book came out this past year and has been my go to for gifts to friends. She has a standing invitation to Christmas Eve at our house when we are in Marfa. Stay tuned for her upcoming podcast “Live from Marfa”

Part of living in the desert is being without the comforts of delivery, which has certainly improved my culinary skills. I always run into people at either The Get Go or the larger Porter’s grocery store. I was elated to see friend Carolyn Pfeiffer, renowned film producer, whose recent book of collected essays, The Ocean, is closed by her late husband John Bradshaw. The book came out this past year and has been my go-to for gifts to friends. She has a standing invitation to Christmas Eve at our house when we are in Marfa.

The Sentinel is a fantastic addition to town, they have the best matcha and almond croissants and inevitably I will run into friends pow wowing in the courtyard.

The Sentinel is a fantastic addition to town. They have the best matcha and almond croissants, and inevitably I run into friends in the courtyard.

This morning it was Bek Stone who ate half my croissant and her brother Seth Hodgson. They arrived on Bek’s Bobcat. Classic Marfa.

This morning it was Bek Stone who ate half my croissant and her brother, Seth Hodgson. They arrived on Bek’s Bobcat. Classic Marfa.

We had friends Molly Mandell & James Burke over for tea later. They are writers and editors and co wrote Made in Cuba. This photo does not capture their beauty!

We had friends Molly Mandell and James Burke over for tea later. They are writers and editors and co wrote Made in Cuba. This photo does not capture their beauty!

Sunday! Time to celebrate my friend Lindy Thorsen’s birthday. I was connected with Lindy on my first trip to Marfa by my college friend Quinn Latimer, poet and writer. Lindy and her husband Terry Mowers live in the most sublime Mud House that is perched at the edge of a vast ranch here in Marfa. An intimate group took Covid tests prior to the party and mingled to appreciate the sunset while local hero Woody Pipatchaisiri of Line Thai whipped up a most incredible feast on the outdoor fire.

Another busy and illuminating week in this pocket of perfection. Stay strong out there the wind is wild!

Another busy and illuminating week in this pocket of perfection.
Stay strong out there. The wind is wild!

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]

BRB

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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