More Details on Peter Doig’s Defection from Michael Werner Gallery, the Rubells’ Next Artist in Residence Revealed, and More Juicy Art World Gossip

Every week, Midnight Publishing Group News brings you Wet Paint, a gossip column of original scoops. If you have a tip, email Annie Armstrong at [email protected].


Geez, did you all read my colleague Kenny Schachter this week? I gotta hand it to him, there’s a lot of wild gossip in there, from a $45 million Basquiat going up for auction at Christie’s courtesy of fashion mogul Giancarlo Giammetti, which is good news for the house after, as Schachter writes, it had to eat several works from the Paul Allen sale. I also enjoyed the affirmation I felt when he said my hunch about Elizabeth Peyton going to David Zwirner was a bullseye. But there was one part where Schachter didn’t nail down the whole story, Wet Paint can confirm. 

As I read through the section where he reveals that Peter Doigwho, in a surprise move, just left Michael Werner after 23 years with the gallery—would be effectively managed by high-profile lawyer Joe Hage, my eyebrows raised. As it turns out, there were two gossip-ravenous raccoons sniffing around the same trash can, and what I made out with tells a different story of Doig’s defection. 

What seemed to put the final nail in the coffin was the gallery’s decision to cut financial ties with Doig’s wife, Parinaz Mogadassi, who runs the London and New York gallery Tramps, and who had curated a show for Michael Werner before. According to sources close to both galleries, tensions rose when Michael Werner Gallery stopped supporting Tramps in 2021—and ceased paying Mogadassi a salary. It would be easy to stop and think, “Hm, well why would Michael Werner pay Mogadassi a salary in the first place?” But if you look into Tramps’s programming, it’s in plain sight that it’s a feeder gallery for Werner’s roster, with several artists—including Florian Krewer and Raphaela Simon, both of whom studied under Doig at Kunstacademy Dusseldorf—getting funneled up to the blue-chip operation. 

Asked about this tangled little set of affairs, Michael Werner Gallery declined to comment other than to confirm that Doig had indeed left the gallery (duh). Personally, my eyes will remain firmly on the gallery’s roster to see what happens to the artists who came over from Tramps, and will keep you posted. 


Basil Kincaid's <i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dancing The Wind Walk</span></i> at VIP Preview Day of Frieze Los Angeles at the Santa Monica Airport on Thursday, February 16, 2023. Photograph by Casey Kelbaugh

Basil Kincaid’s Dancing The Wind Walk at VIP Preview Day of Frieze Los Angeles at the Santa Monica Airport on Thursday, February 16, 2023. Photograph by Casey Kelbaugh

Well, my friends, another marquee art fair week has come and gone. You’d think that the incessant pa-pum of the art market might slow down a few beats per measure in the lag between fairs, but of course it doesn’t! Onwards and upwards, always. 

So far onwards and upwards, in fact, that Wet Paint already has a scoop for you about Art Basel Miami Beach 2023. Provided that the city hasn’t sunk into the Atlantic by next December, the next artist to slot into the star-making Rubell Museum residency is Basil Kincaidand the 37-year-old artist is currently at work on his solo show for the private institution. 

I caught wind of this news outside of Frieze Los Angeles, where Kincaid presented Dancing the Wind Walk, a large-scale public art installation via the Art Production Fund that consisted of textiles from Ghana made into a quilt and wrapped around an airplane. (It was a very appropriate piece for the fair’s location at the Santa Monica Airport.

I gave Mera Rubell a ring to confirm the news, and she said that it was too early for her to say anything officially—but Kincaid’s studio did confirm for me that he is indeed mid-residency. Also, not coincidentally, I had received an email that week which read, in all caps, “AMIR SHARIAT congratulates Basil Kincaid.” If you don’t know, Shariat is the notoriously enterprising artist manager and collector who, has worked with several artists to receive the residency with the Rubells (and if you don’t know, those are some pretty big names, like Amoako Boafo, Kennedy Yanko, and most recently, Alexandre Diop). I asked Mera why she the relationship between Shariat and the residency remains so strong, and she replied coolly and/or ominously, “Well, that’s a story in itself,” before declining any further questions. I’m sure it is! Mera, you’ll be hearing from me again soon. 

Anywho, Kincaid hardly comes out of nowhere for his plum Miami perch. Last year, he had a solo show with Venus Over Manhattan, and Legacy Russell curated his quilt work into “The New Bend,” her highly acclaimed textile-based group show at Hauser & Wirth—both of which gave him exposure to a high-falutin’ class of collectors who are bloodthirsty for new, hot artists. Now the question is: where will his quilts fly off to next?


Nicodim is now representing South Korean painter Yoora LeeJackson Fine Art, a gallery in Wet Paint’s now bustling hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, is moving to a new custom-built, 4,000-square-foot space in Buckhead (the previous gallery was in a charming old house, which I will miss, but congratulations to them)…  Loriel Beltrán has joined Lehmann Maupin’s roster… Downs & Ross have not changed their name to Tara Downs Gallery, as indicated a few months ago following a rather ugly scandal involving Alex RossPerforma has tapped Katherine “Kat” Bishop as the president of its board of directors… George Mickum, a writer for the deliciously gauche publication Guest of a Guest has apparently been selling fake Birkin bags to New York City elite, while tryin to “get in the mix with the New York arts community” (Are you one of the arty, bag-loving elite in question? Please get in touch via the email at the top of this page)… While some agreed with my coverage of a defanged Stefan Simchowitz last week, others did not, writing to me that, “I have worked in the art world now for over 40 years and he stands alone as the most incredible jackass I have every had the displeasure of dealing with,” and “The stunt he pulled on me will never be forgiven or forgotten,” aaaand “literally hate [him] more than anything” … 


Milla Jovovich, Devendra Bernhardt, Gaia Matisse, Maya Rudolph, Natasha Lyonne, and Rufus Wainwright at Tara Subkoff’s buzzy performance at The Hole in Los Angeles, which starred Jaime King *** Honey Dijon, Carl Craig, Nazy Nazhand, and noted collectors Jimmy Iovine and Liberty Ross at Daniel Lee’s debut with Burberry during London fashion week (are there more fashion weeks than there are art fairs? It’s highly possible) *** Molly Baz, Eric Wareheim, and Mia Moretti sipping on weed-infused cocktails at art gallery/my Barbie Dream Home the Goldwyn House in Los Angeles to celebrate the inimitable Gaetano Pesce *** Tobey MaguireRichard PrinceAdam Alessi, Jack Black, and Benny Blanco all showed up to partake in the annual Art World Poker tournament, which poker pro Jason Koon ended up winning *** Hugh Hayden and Max Hollein both posing as pepperoni slices in Gelatin’s elaborate performance at the new O’Flaherty’s *** It seems that David Hockney jumped the gun and made his own immersive experience? *** Alex Marshall may have hosted the best party in Los Angeles during Frieze week, and a certain prominent employee of a midwestern museum was kicked out for unruly behavior *** 


I love when these questions yield enthusiastic responses. Last week, I asked you all who is the best dancer in the art world, and I was not expecting Marilyn Minter‘s name to pop in to my inbox to suggest none other than Mickalene Thomas, but I love it! Louis-Philippe Van Eeckhoutte, meanwhile, piped up to tap in David Zwirner director Thor Shannon, and Matthew Higgs nominated Pauline Daly of Sadie Coles HQ, “No competition!”

Wet Paint is taking a quick break next week, but until then, I ask you all to ponder: What is the biggest faux-pas you can commit at a gallery dinner? Email your response to [email protected]

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In an Expansion, the Rubell Museum Will Bring Its Tastemaking Private Art Collection to Washington, D.C., Next Year

Miami’s Rubell Museum, one of the most prestigious and influential private contemporary art institutions in the U.S., is expanding with a long-awaited second location in Washington, D.C.

Founded by Don and Mera Rubell, the institution is a showcase for their extensive art collection. For emerging artists, the Rubell’s patronage (and a coveted residency at the museum) can be star-making—Sterling Ruby, Oscar Murillo, Lucy Dodd, and, most recently, Amoako Boafo are among the many artists who have benefitted from their stamp of approval.

The couple began collecting art the year they married, back in 1964. In 1993, they began welcoming the public to the Rubell Family Collection in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. In 2019, the private museum movedwith great fanfare—to the city’s Allapattah neighborhood, rebranding itself the Rubell Museum.

The new D.C. branch will display contemporary paintings, sculptures, photography, and installation art in the former Randall Junior High School. The property has a long history in Washington. Originally built in 1906, the school operated until 1978, when the city converted it into a men’s shelter and artist studios.

The Corcoran College of Art + Design bought the building from the city in 2006 and planned to develop it into a campus and luxury condominiums, but the project foundered after the financial crisis. The Rubells, who own the Capitol Skyline Hotel down the street, bought the building from the Corcoran for $6.5 million back in 2010, according to Art in America.

Plagued by delays and partnership changes (last year, the real estate developer Lowe took over the project), the redevelopment now appears to be back on track. It is expected to open by the end of 2022.

Mera Rubell at the construction site for the second location of Miami's Rubell Museum, formerly the Randall School in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Blinder Belle Architects and Planners.

Mera Rubell and and Hany Hasson, the lead architect for the project from Beyer Blinder Belle, at the site for the second location of Miami’s Rubell Museum, formerly the Randall School in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Blinder Belle Architects and Planners.

The Rubells will take over the central building and east wing, adding a glass entry pavilion designed by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners featuring a bookstore, café, and an outdoor dining terrace. The west wing will serve as office space for a variety of companies in creative fields such as nonprofits, cultural institutions, and technology incubators.

A spokesperson for the Rubells declined to offer additional details about their plans for the museum. The couple’s collection includes extensive holdings of work by Keith Haring, Jeff Koons, Catherine Opie, Kerry James Marshall, and other famous names.

Lowe, the project’s developer, is also building Gallery 64, a new 12-story residential building, on the 2.7 acre grounds. It will house 492 units of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, 98 of which will be dedicated to affordable housing. The Historic Preservation Review Board and the Advisory Neighborhood Commission have approved the concept design for the historic property’s redevelopment.

The museum’s 100,000-square-foot Miami campus, designed by Selldorf Architects, features 40 galleries, a library, and a restaurant housed in a retrofitted food processing complex.

See more renderings of the D.C. project below.

The Randall School in Washington, D.C., will become home to the second location of Miami's Rubell Museum and a new Gallery 64 apartment building. Rendering courtesy of Blinder Belle Architects and PlannersThe Randall School in Washington, D.C., will become home to the second location of Miami's Rubell Museum and a new Gallery 64 apartment building. Rendering courtesy of Blinder Belle Architects and Planners

The Randall School in Washington, D.C., will become home to the second location of Miami’s Rubell Museum and a new Gallery 64 apartment building. Rendering courtesy of Blinder Belle Architects and Planners.

The Randall School in Washington, D.C., will become home to the second location of Miami's Rubell Museum and a new Gallery 64 apartment building. Rendering courtesy of Blinder Belle Architects and Planners

The Randall School in Washington, D.C., will become home to the second location of Miami’s Rubell Museum and a new Gallery 64 apartment building. Rendering courtesy of Blinder Belle Architects and Planners.

The Randall School in Washington, D.C., will become home to the second location of Miami's Rubell Museum and a new Gallery 64 apartment building. Rendering courtesy of Blinder Belle Architects and Planners.

The Randall School in Washington, D.C., will become home to the second location of Miami’s Rubell Museum and a new Gallery 64 apartment building. Rendering courtesy of Blinder Belle Architects and Planners.

The Randall School in Washington, D.C., will become home to the second location of Miami's Rubell Museum and a new Gallery 64 apartment building. Rendering courtesy of Blinder Belle Architects and Planners.

The Randall School in Washington, D.C., will become home to the second location of Miami’s Rubell Museum and a new Gallery 64 apartment building. Rendering courtesy of Blinder Belle Architects and Planners.

The Rubell Museum DC will be located at 65 Eye Street, SW, Washington, D.C.

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Rising Artist Genesis Tramaine on How She Channels Her Christian Faith Into Ecstatic Portraits

Painter Genesis Tramaine is proudly Black, unapologetically queer, and—unusual for the world of contemporary art—a vocal Christian who makes no bones about the divine sources of her inspiration. Her expressionistic devotional portraits, which garnered notice in “God Is Trans,” her 2018 solo exhibition at Brooklyn’s Richard Beavers Gallery, are anything but doctrinaire, presenting saints and biblical figures with graffiti-inflected urgency and eye-popping color.

In this week’s Art Angle podcast, Tramaine chats about sibling rivalry in the Bible, how her faith intersects with her paintings, and the work she is excited to show with her gallery, Almine Rech, at the Armory Show this week (September 9–12).

A version of this conversation originally aired on The Art Angle Podcast, available in full here.

Genesis Tramaine, Jesus Loves me: Still (2021), whose listed materials include spray paint and the Holy Spirit. Courtesy of the artist and Almine Rech.

Is it true that you actually started drawing in church to keep yourself quiet when you were a little kid? Can you tell me more about that and how your art-making has kind of always been intertwined with religion?

I’ve always been a doodler, if you would. But when I was in church, sure enough, I was a talker. You know, I would get up and clap and sing at times that maybe weren’t the most appropriate. And I was often instructed to sit on the back pew, [where] I would sketch inside of the hymn books. I would sketch inside of the Bibles, that’s true. I found a love for trying to keep up with the energy that the gospel fed me…I liked that it was able to produce something that didn’t look like anything else. So I don’t know if it was a specific religion, but I do know that it was wrapped in a very Black discipline, if you would, of being quiet and listening to the good word while it’s spread.

Your grandmother was a big inspiration for your 2020 exhibition “Parables of Nana at Almine Rech, and your mother is a gospel-music enthusiast. Can you talk about the women in your family and the role of faith when you were growing up?

I wouldn’t be who I am without those very intentional—intense, if you would—lessons from my grandmother and mom. I don’t come from material wealth, I do come from cultural wealth. I was taught in order to produce a greater relationship with God, you have to have faith, and that means that you believe in things that you don’t necessarily see in front of you. I have a vast imagination due to that discipline of faith-building that my family enriched in me. So yeah, I do walk with a lot of that.

I’ve learned to lean on God in spaces where I don’t understand. My role with Christ hasn’t always been clear. Whether or not I can have a relationship hasn’t always been clear. So those early sayings and instructions and whispers from my grandmother and mother play over and over in my head, you know, Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray my Lord, my soul to keep…those early prayers that my mom and grandmama taught me are still rich in my heart and in very rich in my work, I’d say.

Can you talk a little bit about your journey to an open embrace of Christianity and ultimately handing over your inspiration to God? 

I taught high-school math for many years, algebra in particular. I love the field of education and I believe that I have gained so much in those years of service, creatively. My students taught me so, so much…but I wanted to give the world more. I prayed to God to work through those spaces of service so that I could lean into the lane of art from a professional space.

That sort of 30-year-old point in your life had hit me really hard, and I realized that I hadn’t been to church in a while. I was welcomed by Unity Fellowship Church. I’ve spread my wings there—I paint live, sketch live, pray live. My ministry, if you would, has been allowed to flourish there, but it has not always been welcomed in traditional churches. I’ve been called out on pews. I’ve walked into many churches with my wife and unfortunately not always been loved on immediately. I don’t speak harshly on those church experiences, because we are people, and I think that sometimes it’s not easy to accept difference. So I’m grateful that God has given me art, because it creates a lane for me where those two things are very necessary.

As a queer married woman, how do you think that part of your identity has influenced your faith? Or does it give you a different aspect to your faith? 

Absolutely. I have a wife. Oh my goodness, I have a Black, beautiful wife! She’s such a stone. Man, she’s such a partner to march with. So that makes my day-to-day just easier, to be honest. It’s all out and open and public, because that’s very much in accordance with how the relationship that I have with Jesus is, right? Like, there are no secrets between us. I have faith that I get to be all of who I am under the eyes of God, in the name of Jesus. 

Artist Genesis Tramaine in her studio. Photo: Ashley Dennis.

Artist Genesis Tramaine in her studio. Photo: Ashley Dennis.

What is the feeling you’re waiting for when you’re going to make an artwork? How do you tap into it? 

It’s a walk with, sister. It’s not a tap in, ’cause I need God all the time, sis. I mess up so much—we human, we built to mess up—so I’d rather have God all the time. And I’ve learned that I need to be a constant listener. The best way I can describe it is like maybe the way a doctor would feel when they’re on-call—you know, always available. So when the good Lord taps my left shoulder and says, Let’s get up and go, you know, I get up and go. And it’s not always paint that’s involved in that get-up-and-go, it’s just answering that call.

Many of your paintings are reflections on saints, and your series “Evidence of Grace” is filled with images of King David. Can you talk about the scenes or biblical figures you chose, and why you think painting them is important?

I read the word a lot because it’s important, and it also builds a great understanding for me within myself, like, why am I interested in this relationship with God at all? I’m constantly in rhythm and flow with How can I get closer, how can I get deeper? I tend to sketch through my receiving of most things. So as I read through the word, I write questions down, I write pictures down. I pray through that space. And then I circle names in the word, and sometimes that practice lands on the canvas. 

I think it’s important that you paint a real narrative, an honest reflection. I don’t think [my saints] look like saints as they have been given to us…[those] were false narratives. They were paid for by very wealthy conglomerates, similar to the way things are now. It’s just that this Black face has a little bit more control over what happens in the studio. I can be completely honest in my delivery. 

So the saints, they’re rich with gospels that are necessary for this generation and the ones that are to come. It’s a painted language, sister. It surpasses our literal language. Sometimes it’s easy to understand and sometimes it goes right over my head. It’s interesting to be given a responsibility to paint for the future.  

Genesis Tramaine, Saint Boaz In the Field (2021), will be presented by Almine Rech at the Armory Show, September 9–12, 2021. Photo by Charles Roussel/OCULA.

Are there particular figures from the Bible or saints that you identify with personally? 

I love all of them. When I was in David, I was like David for a while. And then I was like Goliath for a while. I play the bad guy too. Sometimes I’m a little more assertive behind the driving wheel than I need to be—I have Goliath days, you know? 

Right now, I’m reading through Ruth. Oh my goodness, I cannot wait for you guys to see this work that is coming, honey! To paint portraits as they come to me truly is to occupy the space as I would a dance. That’s what it looks like when I’m painting: If you were to turn on a video and record me, you’d see that for me, praying looks like dancing. So in order to occupy that space fluidly, I believe you have to really just allow the word in. That energy, oh man, it fuels the work because it fuels my prayers, you understand? 

Why painting and not another medium? 

You travel with paper when you’re a schoolgirl. You have an ink pen, you have a pencil…the very moment I got a chance to create with paint, I did. And then I ran out, sis, ‘cause paint is expensive! And I paint heavy. I drip heavy. My mom and my grandma, they’re like, ‘Listen, we just bought you this sketchbook, child. How many sketchpads do you need?’ I don’t know if you guys remember those Crayola watercolor packs?

Oh yeah, I do. I do. 

So you know they’re hard when you get them; you have to add water in order for the color to work. Well, I was taught to add all types of things in order to thicken the medium, and how to manipulate it with just that little color block. I’ve always just loved it, and I think my family supported me by showing me how to do little tricks with it, with the things that we had. I’ve learned that that’s the wealth. That that was the thing that I could take to God and ask God to enlarge, if you would. And to God be glory, here we are, sister.  

You are a gospel-music enthusiast, so who are your favorite musicians right now? What are you listening to? 

Right now, Jonathan McReynolds. I think he’s a brilliant writer and singer. I really, really enjoy Shirley Caesar. I’ve been running Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace. I listen to contemporary gospel. Tramaine Hawkins, I was named after her. Those are some of my favorites that are coming to mind right now.

Are there any fine artists that you find particularly inspiring, contemporary or otherwise? 

Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim is the one that I always sort of go to because I really had an exchange with the work. At the time, I wasn’t painting at such a large scale, so I just admired her breadth. Oh man, I just really enjoyed the experience that I had with the paintings. Yeah. Wow. And of course, Barkley Hendricks, whose work I just—you know, wow. Wow. Wow. So those are some that I’ve sat in front of and had to step back, you know, before I step forward, to step back before I step forward. Oh, that’s a good dance before a painting.

Were people surprised when you first started talking about Jesus with your work, or has it mostly been a positive reception?

It has mostly been uplifting. Here’s the thing I’ve learned, sis: the more vulnerable I am with this work, the more vulnerably I’m received. So even if it’s a ‘negative’ response…it doesn’t have to be all bad. Sometimes people don’t have the language to express confusion. Sometimes people don’t have the language to express love. If I weren’t built for this, God wouldn’t have put me here. I love the flow of the conversation. I pray to be available for all of it. I think I have a responsibility—I don’t think I always just get to sit with this prayer life by myself. I want to share it. 

Do you think that your artwork can be understood outside of the context of faith? 

Yes, of course. It’s colorful. It’s large. It’s a portrait. The colors have sound, if you listen close enough. I’m looking at some of the portraits that I just finished…the layers have stories and narratives that may remind you of things, or not. So, yes: I think if you like new things, if you like creative things, if you like round things or square things, or if you like things with shapes, or if you like things that jump off of a page, if you like something other than the norm, I think that you’ll lean into my work.

Artist Genesis Tramaine in her studio. Photo: Ashley Dennis.

Artist Genesis Tramaine in her studio. Photo: Ashley Dennis.

Your show “Evidence of Grace” dealt with the Black Lives Matter movement and the coronavirus. Where are you headed now? 

We are rolling through such an interesting storm. I use ‘rolling’ lightly, because sometimes it’s felt like a floating ship, and sometimes it feels like a sinking boat. Sometimes I feel like Jonah. Today I woke up feeling good. When I get off with you guys, I’m going to pray and then I’m going to hit the studio. That’s where I’m at today.

[This week] I’ll be showing at the Armory Show with Almine Rech, and I’m really excited for the work. That’s what’s in the back of my mind, I know that’s happening. I’m really hoping that I get down to Miami in December, hopefully for Art Basel. I’m currently showing with the Rubell Museum. I’ll probably be there, maybe God willing!

There’s so much uncertainty about what will happen. Can you tell me a little bit about your residency at the Rubell Museum? 

I was invited to come down to paint some portraits. I met Mera and Don Rubell, and they welcomed me with open arms and introduced me to a prayer space and a studio space and the beach. Those were my grounds for the most of the time that I was there. And I was able to produce really beautiful works, a series called “Sanctuary.” 

I was in Genesis and I was reading about these two brothers, Jacob and Esau. I just fell in love with their story. It allowed me to lean into the grace of God a little bit closer through something that was really relatable. There are these two brothers that are twins, and one has favor with mom and one has favor with dad. 

There is a lot of sibling rivalry in the Bible.

There is, but there’s a lot of sibling rivalry in the world, you know? So it’s interesting how reflective it is.

I gave the residency everything I had, and I was given room to do so. One of my favorite parts was the exchange that I was afforded with the Rubells. I was poured into, and it was nice to be treated with such kindness. The director, Juan, was also just such a friend, literally—sometimes it’s those pockets of joy or gifts from God, truly. I was grateful for them because it was a really tumultuous time in our world.

I have heard repeatedly that you are a morning person. Why are you a morning person? What do you like about the morning? 

The world tends to be more quiet in the morning. It’s easier for me to center myself. I don’t wake up to alarm clocks. I wake up when woken up—when the spirit taps, I’m up, and that tends to be early. For a long time, I questioned it. I would paint through the night and I thought that’s what I was supposed to be doing. [Now] if I’m up at 5 a.m., I go into prayer so that I can be ready when the good Lord calls me. It’s a very healthy practice. I get to see sunrises that I don’t hit on Instagram. I invite you, for real—if you can do it for 30 days, just wake up at like, 6 a.m. 

Okay, I’ll start with 6 a.m. We’ll start with 6 a.m.

Baby steps, right? 

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