Young

Artist Anna Weyant Paints the Indignities of Being a Young Woman—and Collectors of All Ages Can’t Get Enough


If you have ever been a young woman, Anna Weyant’s works will feel eerily familiar.

The 26-year-old paints her baby-faced subjects as they roll through the motions of daily life—enduring heartbreak, doing pilates, stuffing bras, and finding strangeness in their own faces while passing a mirror. Like so many in that stage of not-yet-womanhood, her figures put great energy into outward appearances while keeping their interior lives at bay.

Everything is fine, projects a posturing, grinning girl—who looks remarkably like Weyant, though the artist has said it isn’t her—in one work. She chats over a glass of wine with a friend, coolly resting her head on a bent wrist encircled by a pearl bracelet. 

It is this brand of, as Weyant calls it, “low-stakes trauma” of girlhood that interests the artist. Her sometimes-frightening ability to capture these experiences in ways that resonate with fully grown women has made her one of the most sought-after young artists working today.

Anna Weyant, Loose Screw (2020). © Anna Weyant, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo.

Anna Weyant, Loose Screw (2020). © Anna Weyant, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo.

Weyant’s work “doesn’t rely on knowledge of insider references, but it kind of has a language that can be widely understood, widely legible,” said George Newall, cofounder of Winter Street Gallery in Edgartown, Massachusetts, which is presenting a sold-out show of Weyant’s drawings (through September 26). “We’ve witnessed that in peoples’ reactions and in the spread of where people are writing from, which is really global—every continent that I can think of.”

Weyant’s admirable technique is inextricable from her subjects: her luminous compositions recall Dutch Golden Age masters and 20th century painters of the corporeal and surreal like Balthus and John Currin. Through Weyant’s eyes, these subjects are unsettling—but not in a voyeuristic way as much as a knowing one. 

“I didn’t have the tools to process these sorts of experiences when I was living them, at those ages,” Weyant said last week from her apartment on the Upper West Side. As she reflected on her adolescence, “I started going back and saying to myself, ‘That was really weird,’ or ‘That was really funny.’ It became therapeutic.”

Anna Weyant, Drawing for “Dinner III,” (2019-21). Courtesy Winter Street Gallery.

Anna Weyant, Drawing for “Dinner III,” (2019–21). Courtesy Winter Street Gallery.

From Being a Girl to Painting Them

Weyant grew up in Calgary, Alberta, in Canada. She describes her childhood as “idyllic in a lot of ways,” spent with her parents, her brother, and their dog. She did not have much exposure to art, although her early years inspire much of her work now. “It’s something I’ve been going back to through art over the last few years,” she says, “my childhood and teen years and getting to where I am now.”

Where she is now is a fast-rising artist who landed in New York after studying painting at the Rhode Island School of Design. Following graduation, she spent the summer as an event planner for Lincoln Center (“It was great, but I just could not do the 9 a.m. mornings,” she says).

After that, she took a sharp turn back to art, studying traditional painting at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou for seven months. “I really loved being there,” she recalls. “I just could not get a grasp on Mandarin, so I had to finally call it.”

After China, Weyant moved back to New York, where, with the help of a former professor, she secured a job as a studio assistant. It was a time that she describes as “fresh and glittery” but also discombobulating, marked by foggy subway rides and long hours.

She would return home every evening to paint in the Upper West Side apartment she still lives in, despite the light having gone out and the better work hours spent. “I remember it being fun, but just kind of a little depressing,” she says.

Anna Weyant, Buffet (2020). © Anna Weyant, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo.

Anna Weyant, Buffet (2020). © Anna Weyant, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo.

The artist she was assisting (whom she doesn’t name) introduced her to what would become her gallery, the hip downtown star-maker 56 Henry. Her first solo show opened there in fall 2019.

Entitled “Welcome to the Dollhouse”—a reference to Todd Solondz’s 1995 tragicomic film about a teen who suffers a series of humiliating misfortunes while trying to fit in at school—the show centered on depictions of a literal dollhouse occupied by a group of young girls. The dollhouse in the paintings is modeled after one that Weyant had as a child. 

“I just recently found this old diary that I had written when I was like 13,” Weyant tells me, reflecting on the little injustices of youth she loves exploring. “And like every other 13-year-old, I was a monster in so many ways. One of the entries said something to the effect of, ‘I had just been asked out by some boy, and then the next day he dumped me, and he was the love of my life and I was so heartbroken.’ And then I signed it by saying this girl—we’ll call her Stacey—’looked so fat today.’ Then, ‘Xo, Anna.’ Woe is me, I have this horrible breakup and then I burn someone down in the same breath.”

Anna Weyant, Put Yourself in My Shoes (2019). Courtesy of 56 HENRY.

Rising Profile

Weyant’s outing at 56 Henry earned her invitations to show at other high-profile galleries. This spring, an exhibition of paintings at her new Los Angeles gallery Blum & Poe, titled “Loose Screw,” sold out. In an interview with the dealer Bill Powers, Weyant notes that her mother chided her for the title, saying, “Honey, don’t ruin your show with such an ugly name.”

But the knife edge between sweet and sour, beautiful and foreboding, is where Weyant’s art lives. Her latest body of work, informed by the malaise that tints many memories of spring 2020, reflects lives lived with a little less color. Her figures are rendered with claustrophobic yellows, inky blacks, and army greens.

Weyant has cited influences as wide-ranging as painter Ellen Berkenblit’s screaming woman series, Frans Hals’ Two Boys Laughingcartoons from the New Yorker and the Grinch, as well as a particularly gruesome book by Edward Gorey. (“It’s an ABC book, but for different ways that children die,” she says matter-of-factly.)

Her unique perspective has found an eager audience—and driven considerable demand. Like many young artists, Weyant feels ambivalent about her fast-rising prices at a moment when she’s still finding her feet artistically.

“I’m starting to see a lot of resale,” she says. “Things that I sold 10 months ago for $2,000 being sold for much, much, much more than that. It’s hard not to feel in some ways betrayed because I feel like I’ve given up this thing that was very intimate. But it was in exchange for money so… I don’t know.” 

Anna Weyant, Cloud Hill (2020). © Anna Weyant, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo.

Anna Weyant, Cloud Hill (2020). © Anna Weyant, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo.

Weyant’s gallerists at Blum & Poe and Winter Street Gallery declined to share price information at the request of the artist. A crayon-on-paper portrait she donated to New York’s Drawing Center this year lists its retail value as $10,000, though her work has already brought more than twice that at auction. Her first and only work to hit the block fetched $27,720 at a Phillips day sale in June, almost four times its high estimate.

“There’s this element of selling myself or selling something that is very important to me that then becomes a stock or currency of sorts, and I don’t have any control over it,” Weyant says. “That’s a new anxiety for me.”

This trend, Weyant knows, will likely only continue. At the same time, she and her team are doing what they can; George Newall of Winter Street said that putting the work in “thoughtful places” is an “important part of the mission,” especially since they could have sold each work in the current show “many times over.”

Blum & Poe declined to share the size of the wait list for Weyant’s work, but did not deny its existence. “Her practice is just getting started, with an exciting career unfolding ahead,” the gallery said diplomatically in a statement. “Given her talents, there are many great collectors worldwide seeking out her work.”   

Anna Weyant, Unconditional Love (2021). © Anna Weyant, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo.

Anna Weyant, Unconditional Love (2021). © Anna Weyant, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo.

What’s Next

When I ask what’s feeding her artistically at the moment—what’s breaking through the interminable blur of the last year—Weyant tells me about Lifetime movies.

“They’re incredibly problematic, but I’m fascinated by them, the strangeness of white America,” she says. “They’re always set up the same way. There’s always an opening with a woman sitting with a glass of wine, and then there’s some murder.” She considers the “fear of a foreigner coming to town” that drives these films to be “very American.” It’s something she is turning over in her head as she plots new work.

As a white woman, Weyant says she has spent the past year thinking about her privilege, the “frivolity” of her paintings, and the act of being a painter in general. These concerns, she suspects, just might push her work around a corner. She is considering leaving behind the indignities of early adulthood to explore the more adult problems that plague white America. (One of her newest paintings reworks a scene from the film American Psycho.)

“I feel like I’ve dipped my toe in there, in these newer themes, and the water’s been too hot and I just want to figure out the best way to approach it,” she says. “So I’ve been walking around the edge of it. And I hope to get there.”

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A New Book Looks at the History and Work of Artists Who Died Young. Here Are 8 of Their Stories


In examining the many artists who died before the age of 30, authors Angela Swanson Jones and Vern G. Swanson examine 109 stories in their book Desperately Young: Artists Who Died in Their Twenties (ACC Art Books, 2020). Each is unique, though they do find obvious trends and patterns.

A surprising number (in earlier times of course) fell victim to tuberculosis or other now-curable or preventable diseases. Others (roughly 20) were victims of hazardous travel and unsanitary conditions in Rome during sojourns there (in fact, seven were Prix de Rome winners).

Of course, there is no shortage of cases where drugs and alcohol were a main cause of early death, playing into the trope of the “tortured artist.” One thing that immediately leaps out at the reader is there are far more male artists profiled here than female.

The authors insist that their work is not born out of some sort of “morbid fascination” but instead out of the impulse to imbue their subjects and the art they created with “abiding honour, recognition, and consolation.”

 

Jeanne Hébuterne, age 21
(1889-1920)

Jeanne Hebuterne, <i>Autoportrait (Self Portrait)</i>, (circa 1917). Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd.

Jeanne Hebuterne, Autoportrait (Self Portrait), (circa 1917). Courtesy of Christie’s Images Ltd.

You may not be familiar with her name, but Jeanne Hebuterne’s face has graced more than 20 canvases in portraits painted by her lover, Amedeo Modigliani. The young artist met Modigliani—a hedonistic enfant terrible of the art world who was 14 years her senior—while she was studying at the Académie Colarossi in Paris, and was immediately swept into his orbit.

Though her later paintings showed some influence of Modigliani, Jeanne had her own distinct style that was more indebted to Matisse and the Fauves. In a self-portrait that was sold at Christie’s Paris in 2018, Jeanne stares frankly from the canvas at the viewer with a challenging gaze, wearing what appears to be a kimono, lending it the feeling of a boudoir portrait. 

With only about 25 paintings to her name, Hebuterne’s story was eclipsed by that of her prolific lover and her life as a mother to his child. In January 1920, Modigliani died of meningitis brought on by his tuberculosis. Less than 48 hours later, Hebuterne, overwhelmed with grief, threw herself from the window of her parents apartment, killing herself and her unborn child. 

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley, age 25
(1872-1898)

Aubrey Beardsley, Illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s Salome; The Climax, (1893), Stephen Calloway. Photo: © Tate.

The British artist Aubrey Beardsley came down with a case of tuberculosis at age seven that would haunt him and prove ultimately fatal, taking his life as it had his father and grandfather before. Beardsley showed immense promise at a young age, inspiring the Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones to write, “I seldom or never advise anyone to take up art as a profession, but in your case I can do nothing else.”  

Beardsley’s illustrations bore the influence of Japanese woodcuts and earlier illustrators like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, though his work was fully unique and ushered in the period known as the Modern Style, which was the Brit’s answer to Art Nouveau. His work edged toward the erotic as he matured, with a markedly bohemian sensibility that was deemed prurient when viewed in tandem with Oscar Wilde’s work. Beardsley was considered a controversial figure in his generation. 

Toward the end of his short life, the artist embraced religion, converting to Roman Catholicism and renouncing his self-proclaimed “obscene” works. Despite his pleas that publishers Herbert C. Pollitt and Leonard Smithers destroy those images, the works continued to be released into the public sphere, cementing his place in art history. Of Beardsley, the authors of Desperately Young ask, “Had he lived, would he have been as great a Christian artist as he had been a profane one?”

 

Richard Gerstl, age 25
(1883-1908)

Richard Gerstl, Semi-Nude Self-Portrait (1902–04). Courtesy of the Leopold Museum, Vienna.

Richard Gerstl, Semi-Nude Self-Portrait (1902–04). Courtesy of the Leopold Museum, Vienna.

Austrian-born painter Richard Gerstl has one of this time’s more tragic biographies, hitting all of the notes of the classic tortured artist. After befriending the composer Arnold Schoenberg and joining his tight-knit group of creative friends, Gerstl began an affair with Schoenberg’s wife, Mathilde. After the pair were caught in flagrante, Gerstl was excommunicated from the inner circle. 

Suffering from depression and becoming increasingly agitated, Gerstl’s paintings are marked by self-loathing and unhappiness, isolated and spiraling into ever-further depths of despair. On the evening of November 4, as Schoenberg was giving a concert that Gerstl had been excluded from, the disconsolate artist burned his archive of letters and drawings, stripped naked, and hanged himself in front of a mirror, also managing to stab himself savagely in a final dramatic flourish of self-annihilation. 

 

Charlotte Salomon, age 26
(1917-1943)

Charlotte Salomon's <i>Self Portrait</i> (1940). Courtesy Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam © Charlotte Salomon Foundation.

Charlotte Salomon’s Self Portrait (1940). Courtesy Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam © Charlotte Salomon Foundation.

The German artist was born in Berlin in 1917 during World War I and knew no shortage of suffering during her brief life. Her mother committed suicide when she was nine years old. In 1938, following Kristallnacht, her father was sent to a concentration camp for a time. Salomon went to live with her grandparents in Villefranche on the French Riviera.

“Far from being a haven, during her time there she personally witnessed her grandmother committing suicide by jumping from a window, as her mother had done,” according to the book.

Evidence suggests the artist may have been sexually abused by her grandfather. In 1943, she and her husband, whom she had married just a few months earlier, were sent to Auschwitz. Salomon, who was five months pregnant when she arrived at the camp, was murdered in the gas chambers.

Her tragic life has served as inspiration for plays, a novel, a documentary, a film, and even a ballet-opera. She is famous for an autobiographical gouache series of nearly 800 works that mixes fact and fantasy in recounting her family’s story from World War I through the rise of Nazism.

 

Auguste Macke, age 27
(1887-1914) 

August Macke, Four Girls (1913). Photo courtesy of Museum Kunstpalast – Horst Kolberg.

August Macke, Four Girls (1913). Photo courtesy of Museum Kunstpalast – Horst Kolberg.

Though Macke was an important German Expressionist painter, his personality and artwork were notable for his joie de vivre in contrast to the darker tones, style, and subject matter often associated with this movement. In Paris, he immersed himself in the work of the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists and the influence of Matisse resulted in a notably brighter palette for Macke.

He was conscripted into the German army in 1914 and was killed in combat in the second month of World War I. Macke’s influence on later avant-garde German painting is, as the book says, “incalculable.”

 

Jean Michel Basquiat, age 27
(1960-1988)

Jean Michel-Basquiat, Untitled (1982). Courtesy of Sotheby's New York.

Jean Michel-Basquiat, Untitled (1982). Courtesy of Sotheby’s New York.

He is arguably the most famous artist profiled in the book and his meteoric rise to fame in the New York art world during the 1980s has been well-documented. Born in Brooklyn, Basquiat was of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent and his rebellious streak saw him take to the streets where he splashed his “SAMO” graffiti tag around prominently before getting noticed by the cognoscenti and given gratis studio space in the gallery of iconic dealer Anina Nosei.

Basquiat was famous in his own short lifetime and even collaborated with fellow art star Andy Warhol. Since his death from a heroin overdose at the age of 27, in April 1988, his work has become ever more popular and sought after. According to the Midnight Publishing Group Price Database, the ten highest works sold at auction each made over $30 million. The highest price ever paid for a Basquiat painting was $110.5 million at Sotheby’s in 2017. Japanese fashion mogul Yusaka Maezawa was the buyer.

 

Egon Schiele, age 28
(1890-1918)

Egon Schiele, Self-Portrait with Bare Shoulder (1912). Courtesy of the Leopold Museum, Vienna.

Egon Schiele, Self-Portrait with Bare Shoulder (1912). Courtesy of the Leopold Museum, Vienna.

Schiele played a major role in Austrian Expressionism and began his career as a protege of Gustav Klimt. He was extremely prolific, having created around 3,000 drawings during his lifetime. But the subject matter proved controversial—particularly erotic images of contorted and often sexually explicit nudes. The minors and young prostitutes who frequented his studio didn’t exactly help his reputation either.

In 1912, he was charged with abducting and seducing an underaged girl. The charges were eventually dropped but he was sentenced to 24 days in jail for exhibiting erotic art to children. The judge even burned a drawing in court.

In 1915, he married Edith Harms. She was six months pregnant with their first child, in 1918, when both she and the artist contracted the Spanish flu. They died within days of one another. One of the artist’s last drawings is Edith Schiele on Her Deathbed.

 

Bob Thompson, age 28
(1937-1966)

Bob Thompson, The Golden Ass (1963). Courest of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery.

Bob Thompson, The Golden Ass (1963). Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery.

The African American painter was influenced by a range of historical styles and types of art, from the baroque to Fauvism to Abstract Expressionism to jazz music. The result was a distinctive style marked by flatly painted, primary colored abstracted figures acting out narratives from mythology and the Bible.

Thompson received accolades during his lifetime, including a solo show at Martha Jackson Gallery in New York in 1963. He won several grants and fellowships that allowed him to take extended trips to Europe.

He battled depression from a young age and often turned to drugs and alcohol as a way of dealing. He died in Rome as a result of a heroin overdose. He was prolific and produced nearly 1,000 paintings during his lifetime, many of which now hang in prestigious private and museum collections.

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How the Mega-Dealer Is Teaming Up With Other Gallerists to Scout Young Artists for His Stable


When Frieze New York opened in May, Gagosian, the gallery with more outposts than any other in the history of the world, was at a crossroads.

Jeff Koons, the most expensive living artist at auction, had recently left for Pace, and his glorious Sling Hook (2007–9), a “Popeye” series inflatable featuring a shark and lobster intertwined, hung from the rafters in his new gallery’s booth at the fair.

Around the corner, David Zwirner, Larry Gagosian’s primary antagonist (the two dealers have famously never sat down for a one-one-one drink in the three decades they’ve known each other) had a suite of new works by Dana Schutz, the newest star to join Zwirner’s stable. It was the consensus top booth in the fair.

And Iwan Wirth, the youngest of the mega-gallery overlords, had monster pieces by Cindy Sherman and Gary Simmons—both of whom had moved over from Metro Pictures, which will close this fall—as well as Henry Taylor and George Condo, the fiercely sought-after painters that joined the gallery in the early days of 2020. 

Gagosian’s first fair booth in 15 months was a little different. Though sculptures by longtime gallery artist Rachel Feinstein scattered the floorspace, the booth’s walls were given over to a young Polish artist, Ewa Juszkiewicz, who, until 2020, had never had a solo show in the U.S.

What’s more, Gagosian’s Basel gallery opened a show in early June of new works by Louise Bonnet, who had just a handful of shows before landing a solo exhibition at Gagosian’s Park & 75 storefront space last September. Bonnet’s work has only appeared at auction once, this March, selling for $81,900 at Sotheby’s. 

Louise Bonnet, Calvary with Potato, 2020 © Louise Bonnet. Photo courtesy Gagosian.

The moves mark a turn for a mega-gallery that has long filled its spaces with household names. There’s still no official succession plan in place for who will lead the gallery after its namesake hangs up his hat—if such a thing, um, actually ever happens—but there does seem to be a succession plan for the programming.

Both Juszkiewicz and Bonnet were brought into the Gagosian fold in late 2019, when Bill Powers—the dealer, curator, writer, and long-time proprietor of Half Gallery—curated a show for the gallery.

It was perhaps the first time that a now-widespread movement got a high-profile platform: new-ish painters, often women, making boldly imagined figurative paintings with giddy surrealist touches. In addition to Juszkiewicz and Bonnet, artists in the show included Ginny Casey, Chloe Wise, Tanya Merrill, and Genieve Figgis. 

“I introduced both of [Bonnet’s and Juszkiewicz’s] work to Larry in 2019 when I curated ‘Domestic Horror’ at 75th and Park,” Powers said in a statement, referring to the title of the show. “I think he appreciated that they were both older artists, and [he] had a visceral reaction to the work.”

Many of the artists in the Gagosian exhibition had early shows at Half Gallery—Powers has been aggressive about scouring top MFA programs and art schools for talent. And when he found an artist he particularly liked, he showed them to the art world’s reigning king. 

He also knew that, because the two painters only had so much exposure to American collectors, Larry wouldn’t take the leap without some institutional heft. So he lined up some primo referrals. 

“I had done Louise’s first New York solo show at Half Gallery in 2017, which resulted in a wonderful Peter Schjeldahl review [in the New Yorker],” Powers continued. “Ewa I had met initially through [curator and writer] Alison Gingeras. I think those tacit nods of approval from other art-world luminaries gave Gagosian the added comfort to take them both on in terms of representation.”

The artists work with Gagosian director Freja Harrell, who said in a statement that it was “purely coincidental” that the gallery started working with relatively fresh surrealist-influenced painters at the same time.

“The way we develop relationships with artists is much more individual than that, and varies depending on the particular situation,” Harrell said in an email. “The 2019 group show drew attention to the significant demand for both artists’ work, from both existing collectors and collectors new to the gallery, and we felt that they fit well into our program. It was very organic in that sense.”

Installation view of ‘Louise Bonnet: Vagabond,’ currently on view at Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo courtesy Nino Mier gallery.

Bonnet has also had solo shows at Nino Mier, the Los Angeles space founded in 2015 that now has outposts in Brussels, Cologne, and Marfa.

Mier has also been instrumental in pushing forward the neo-surrealist movement. In addition to giving Bonnet an early show (there’s currently another show of Bonnet paintings up in Meir’s L.A. gallery), he’s staged solo exhibitions for Casey, Rebecca Ness, Madeleine Pfull, and Nikki Maloof, all of whom paint woozily warped figurative or still life paintings that have come to represent something of a movement.

And it’s this movement, nurtured by dealers like Mier and Powers, that Gagosian intends to sell now to his world-class clients. So far, it’s working. “We have far more demand for both artists’ work than we can satisfy at this point,” Harrell said.

This rush is coming at a time when the classic Gagosian money-minting painters have seen their prices on the secondary market fall precipitously. A John Currin watercolor on paper recently sold at Sotheby’s London for less than $20,000, well under the low estimate. In 2008, a similar Currin work on paper sold at auction for $231,000.

Meanwhile, an untitled Rudolf Stingel from 2011 sold for $1.3 million at Phillips London last October. Compare that to a slightly larger work by the artist from 2012 that went for $7.9 million at the same auction house just two years earlier.

“What does every rich and famous person want more than anything? Relevancy,” a dealer who wished to remain anonymous said. “You have a Warhol Marilyn? Cool, we know you’re rich. But if you have, say, Christina Quarles, you’re of our time.” 

And if a Gagosian client already has enough of the old stuff, the new crop can appeal on a similar level. One source likened it to a Netflix or Spotify algorithm: If you enjoy Glenn Brown, maybe you’ll like Ewa Juszkiewicz? If you like Carroll Durham, perhaps you’ll like Louise Bonnet?

Larry Gagosian in 2017 in Basel, Switzerland. Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images.

Larry Gagosian in 2017 in Basel, Switzerland. Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images.

Not everyone is a fan of this new school of painting. Dean Kissick, one of the leading critics in the age range of these painters, wrote a widely read essay for the Spectator in January about the rise of “bad figurative painting” (he singles out Juszkiewicz) and gave the style that unites these artists a not-so-flattering sobriquet: “zombie figuration.”

Kissick, after bringing up the classic “my kid could do that” knock on contemporary art, wrote that these works offend the viewer even further: “They don’t look like they were painted by children; they look like they were conceptualized by children to please other children.” 

Ewa Juszkiewicz, Untitled (after Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun) (2020) © Ewa Juszkiewicz. Photo courtesy Gagosian.

This isn’t the first time Gagosian has co-opted a micro-movement arranged by other dealers: the dealer famously stole Currin away from Andrea Rosen when Currin was the bedrock of the gallery’s conceptual approach to painting, and took Joe Bradley away from Canada right as the artist’s shape-shifting style had become celebrated. 

Bradley recently left for Petzel, which many see as a sign that Gagosian’s time at the top may be coming to an end. But if other similarly hot figurative painters join the team, that could be enough to sustain the empire. Perhaps the Frieze booth wasn’t the most celebrated part of the fair. But it worked. 

“The five paintings we received from Ewa for Frieze were sold prior to the fair opening,” Harrell said. “Louise’s Basel show is already sold out.”

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11 Events for Your Art Calendar This Week, From Katie Bell’s Joyful Ode to the Past to Young Space’s Latest Online Show


Each week, we search for the most exciting and thought-provoking shows, screenings, and events. In light of the global health crisis, we are currently highlighting events in person and digitally, as well as in-person exhibitions open in the New York area. See our picks from around the world below. (Times are all EST unless otherwise noted.)

 

Monday, May 31

Lee Blalock, <i>Ev3ryd4y Cyb0rg (Season 1, Episode 3: L0:F1 loop)</i> (2019).

Lee Blalock, Ev3ryd4y Cyb0rg (Season 1, Episode 3: L0:F1 loop) (2019).

1. “Navigating Digital Identities: Translation, Bodies, and Paratexts” at the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery

Lee Blalock, a Chicago-based artist known for his techno-mediated explorations of post-human anatomies, will sit down with professor Dima Ayoub, director of the Middle East Studies Program at Middlebury College, for a conversation about digital bodies. The dialogue accompanies “Not in, of, Along, or Relating to a Line,” NYU Abu Dhabi’s ambitious exhibition of artists and collectives who “employ technology for self-expression and self-fashioning.”

Price: Free
Time: 7:30 p.m.

—Taylor Dafoe

 

Thursday, June 3

Installation view of "Jose Dávila: The Circularity of Desire" at Sean Kelly, New York. Photo by Jason Wyche, courtesy of Sean Kelly, New York.

Installation view of “Jose Dávila: The Circularity of Desire” at Sean Kelly, New York. Photo by Jason Wyche, courtesy of Sean Kelly, New York.

2. “Curator Conversation: Jose Dávila and Pedro H. Alonzo” at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

In conjunction with Jose Dávila’s exhibition, “The Circularity of Desire” (though June 19), Sean Kelly Gallery will host a virtual conversation with the artist and Pedro H. Alonzo, adjunct curator at Dallas Contemporary, about the works on view. Made during the pandemic, these paintings, sculptures, and silkscreens on cardboard grew out of Dávila’s research into the iconography of the circle in 20th- and 21st-century art history.

Price: Free with RSVP
Time: 3 p.m.

—Tanner West

 

Thursday, June 3–Friday, July 2

Dana James, <em>Homecoming</em> (2021). Courtesy of Hollis Taggart.

Dana James, Homecoming (2021). Courtesy of Hollis Taggart.

3. “Dana James: Something I Meant to Say” at Hollis Taggart, New York

In her first show at Hollis Taggart, Dana James presents abstract oil-and-acrylic paintings “The strips [of canvas] act as a panorama of linear time; they serve as a reminder that we are small and predictable creatures, incessantly creating and shedding beautiful accounts of the earth and its elements. Upon completion, they are visual diaries that speak to contradiction,” the artist said in a statement.

Location: Hollis Taggart, 521 West 26th Street, New York
Time: Opening reception, 5:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m. with RSVP; Tuesday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Appointments recommended.

—Sarah Cascone

 

Thursday, June 3–October

Grada Kilomba, Creon</em> (2020), from the series "Heroines, Birds and Monsters". Photo courtesy of the artist, the Amant Foundation, and Goodman Gallery, ©Grada Kilomba.

Grada Kilomba, Creon (2020), from the series “Heroines, Birds and Monsters”. Photo courtesy of the artist, the Amant Foundation, and Goodman Gallery, ©Grada Kilomba.

4. “Grada Kilomba: Heroines, Birds, and Monsters” at Amant, Brooklyn

The Italian art nonprofit Amant from the Tuscan village of Chiusure is inaugurating its East Williamsburg campus with the first U.S. show of Berlin-based artist, psychologist, and theorist Grada Kilomba. A cafe and performance space will follow in June, with an international residency program kicking off in the fall.

Location: Amant, 315 Maujer Street, Brooklyn
Price:
Free
Time: Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

—Sarah Cascone

 

Friday, June 4

Siah Armahani's work at Waterfront Plaza outside Brookfield Place in New York City. Photo courtesy of the Battery Park City Authority.

Siah Armahani’s work at Waterfront Plaza outside Brookfield Place in New York City. Photo courtesy of the Battery Park City Authority.

5. “Curator Walking Tour: Public Art in Lower Manhattan” from the Museum of the City of New York

Museum of the City of New York curator Lilly Tuttle will lead this walking tour exploring the ways in which public art and architecture helped transform Lower Manhattan from an industrial, maritime port neighborhood to the bustling waterfront business district of the 21st century.

Location: Lower Manhattan (starting point TBD)
Price:
$25
Time: 4 p.m.–5:30 p.m.

—Nan Stewert

 

Saturday, June 5–Friday, July 2

Gabriel Mills, Our Last Night Together, (2021). Image courtesy the artist and Lyles & King

Gabriel Mills, Our Last Night Together, (2021).
Image courtesy the artist and Lyles & King

6. “In Praise of Shadows” at Lyles and King Gallery, New York

This group show curated by Ebony L. Haynes, now a director at David Zwirner gallery, is an iteration of the Yale MFA painting and printmaking 2021 exhibition that was installed in New Haven at the start of the year. It features works by Vamba Bility, Brianna Rose Brooks, David Craig, Danielle De Jesus, Nathaniel Donnett, and Leyla Faye, among others.

Location: Lyles and King Gallery, 21 Catherine Street, New York
Price: Free
Time: Opening 2 p.m.–6 p.m.; Tuesday—Saturday 11 a.m.—6 p.m.

—Eileen Kinsella

 

Through Sunday, June 20

Hawazin Al Otaibi, Softboii (2021). Courtesy of the artist and Young Space.

Hawazin Al Otaibi, Softboii (2021). Courtesy of the artist and Young Space.

7. “Strange Paradigm” at Young Space 

Young Space presents its 10th online exhibition, “Strange Paradigm,” a group show that explores the psychological experience of jamais vu. The inverse of déjà vu, jamais vu describes the sensation of the familiar seeming eerily unfamiliar—an experience many of us may be having as life returns trepidatiously to normal (at least in the U.S.). In this show, 16 artists take a closer look at the relationships between our emotional and physical experiences through the lens of cultural identity. Particularly intriguing are artist Hawazin Al Otaibi’s softened, almost fuzzy portraits that question depictions of gender and masculinity, as are Iranian-born artists Morteza Khakshoor’s winkingly humorous portraits in which figures appear in a variety of curious tableaux.

Price: Free
Time: On view daily at all times

—Katie White 

 

An installation view of Katie Bell: Arena" at Spencer Brownstone. Photo courtesy of Spencer Brownstone Gallery.

An installation view of Katie Bell: Arena” at Spencer Brownstone. Photo courtesy of Spencer Brownstone Gallery.

8. “Katie Bell: Arena” at Spencer Brownstone, New York

Katie Bell’s can’t-miss first solo show at Spencer Brownstone gallery looks like it’s still being installed—or maybe deinstalled—and that’s exactly the point. The works on view, many of them made from materials the artist scavenged around New York, reference Classical antiquity (columns in particular are a recurring theme), but without being burdened by any awkward historical weight. Instead, these brightly colorful works, which are strewn about the gallery in the manner of Robert Morris’s Scatter Piece, suggest that heavy old things like the past can actually be colorful, joyful curios.

Location: 170-A Suffolk St, New York
Price:
Free
Time: Wednesday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

—Pac Pobric

 

Through Friday, June 25

Jennifer Bartlett, <i>Wedding</i> (2000-02). Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery.

Jennifer Bartlett, Wedding (2000-02). Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery.

9. “Jennifer Bartlett” at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

In Jennifer Bartlett’s current show at Paula Cooper, maps take the role of medium and subject. The grid structure of maps have long held appeal to the artist, but in these works, many of the maps are completely unrecognizable, transformed into dot-covered abstractions, transforming border lines into undulating forms and large countries into skewed forms. “By shifting these geographical markers… Bartlett questions the presumed objectivity of her source materials, in particular those that claim to depict disputed terrains,” the gallery said in a statement.

Location: Paula Cooper Gallery, 524 West 26th Street, New York
Price:
 Free
Time: Tuesday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

—Nan Stewart

 

Through Saturday, June 26

Installation view of “Jason Fox: 5 Seasons” at Canada, New York. Photo courtesy of Canada, New York.

Installation view of “Jason Fox: 5 Seasons” at Canada, New York. Photo courtesy of Canada, New York.

10. “Jason Fox: 5 Seasons” at Canada, New York

Currently on view at Canada gallery is “5 Seasons,” the gallery’s third solo exhibition of American artist Jason Fox’s work. The show features seven large paintings of an assortment of pop culture icons including George Harrison, Jennifer Lawrence, Bob Marley, Joni Mitchell, and Puff the Magic Dragon. Using Ab-Ex styles and tin foil, Fox adds texture to the surface of these acrylic, oil, and graphite paintings.

Location: Canada, 60 Lispenard Street
Price: Free
Time: Tuesday–Saturday: 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

—Cristina Cruz

 

Through Friday, July 23

Nick Irzyk, <em>Baroque Promise</em> (2020). Photo courtesy of the artist.

Nick Irzyk, Baroque Promise (2020). Photo courtesy of the artist.

11. “44 Signs of the Times” at Mana Contemporary, Jersey City

Curated by Owen Duffy, director of the Yeh Art Gallery at St. John’s University in Queens, this exhibition brings together 44 works that illuminate the weirdness of recent times, made before the pandemic, during lockdown, and since restrictions have eased. “This exhibition does not aspire to offer a diagnosis of what ails the times or a prescriptive cure,” Duffy said in a statement. “Rather it is a document, an incomplete picture of our world from within.” Featured artists include Trevor Paglen, Savannah Knoop, and Cynthia Talmadge.

Location: Mana Contemporary, 888 Newark Avenue, Jersey City
Price:
Free
Time: By appointment

—Sarah Cascone

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NFT Collective Whines Over Cryptopunks Sale, Coveted Young Artist Joins Hauser & Wirth, & More Art-World Gossip


Every week, Midnight Publishing Group News Pro brings you Wet Paint, a gossip column of original scoops reported and written by Nate Freeman. If you have a tip, email Nate at [email protected]

 

REVENGE OF THE CRYPTO NERDS

Love them or hate them—and believe you me, people do hate them!—NFTs have done one thing that unites disparate parts of the art market: make people rich. Sources said Christie’s owner François Pinault, even as he’s busy opening his new $200 million museum in Paris, has been keeping a watchful eye on the record-breaking sales of tokens, sending his son, Kering C.E.O. François-Henri Pinault, to watch the no-audience sale in person as the only soul in the skybox. (The billionaire’s son is oddly the perfect emissary to check out an NFT sale—he’s a secret tech nerd who decades ago taught himself to code in FORTRAN and COBOL.) 

But there have been some growing pains on both sides as the centuries-old auction house embraces the medium of the future. The house’s lawyers have to grapple with a new kind of rambunctious and uncouth clientele that isn’t used to the old-world mores of the company founded by James Christie in 1766, and currently owned by a luxury goods billionaire.  

Christie's at Rockefeller Center in New York City. Courtesy of Christie's.

Christie’s at Rockefeller Center in New York City. Courtesy of Christie’s.

Most of the time, when someone bids on art at auction, there is a human being on the other end of the telephone. Not so with NFTs—the entities that were registering to bid on a lot like Cryptopunks were often Decentralized Autonomous Organizations, or D.A.O.s, very unofficially organized groups of investors who pool money to buy digital artworks.

Christie’s lawyers were allegedly baffled by the prospect of giving a paddle to an unknowable cohort of ether hoarders. Hypothetically, such investors could be criminals, terrorists, members of military dictatorships, etc. Sources said that, even when a paddle is given to someone potentially shady—say, a member of the Saudi royal family standing in for the crown prince—the auction house can avoid legal issues if the lawyers can vet their identity. Not so with a D.A.O., which gives no information about the numbers or makeup of its membership. 

The Flamingo DAO logo. Courtesy the Flamingo DAO.

But Christie’s made an exception for the Flamingo D.A.O. The legit-looking contingent was incorporated in October 2020, and has since focused solely on buying NFTs—the crew’s Twitter bio calls itself the “Medicis of NFT,” which, I mean, sure. But Flamingo’s air of exclusivity passed muster with the Christie’s council: The D.A.O. limited its number of members to 100 not to run afoul of the S.E.C., and made sure everyone was accredited, meaning they had at least a million bucks in the bank. Members also had to provide their passports and S.S.N.s, meaning—presumably!—no warlords or criminals allowed. 

Not only did Christie’s allow them to bid, but the old-world auction house literally let the barbarians into the gates. Sources said the auction house extended an invitation to a Flamingo D.A.O. member who goes by G Money to take a tour of the sale preview the day before Cryptopunks hit the block. Noah Davis, the Christie’s specialist who became an art-world star overnight by orchestrating the $69 million Beeple sale, personally showed G Money around, hoping to convince the mysterious D.A.O. to bid the lot higher and higher. The anonymous Mr. Money is a known fan of the work—in January, he paid 140 ETH, or $176,000, for a single punk. And as far as we know, he was treated with the utmost respect—he said at the time that the Christie’s brass even referred to him exclusively by his absurd nom de crypto.

Noah Davis. Photo courtesy Christie’s.

But the Ether-rich collector of intangible things later changed his mind. In an unhinged Twitter rant called “How Christies Fucked Up the Punks Auction,” he lashed out at the house for what he saw was an insufficient amount of attention given to the punks in the showrooms. While you can hang a Basquiat or a Haring, you can’t hang a Cryptopunk because… it doesn’t exist. And so the house came up with the idea of installing reproductions of the Punks in semi-hidden high-up places around the rooms, in a sort of reference to the street artist Invader

This did not go over well with our man G Money.

“I wonder why someone might not think a tiny 4″ x 4″ piece tucked randomly in obscure corners is worth anything? You literally had ONE job: Find buyers,” he wrote on Twitter. “If I had no idea what a CryptoPunk was walking into the gallery beforehand, I sure as hell had no clue when I walked out.”

Davis—who’s become quite active on the Punks’ Discord chat channel, despite the self-acknowledged fact that he’s an outsider (his name on Discord is @NoahThePoseur)—wrote back with an thorough apology, explaining the reference to Invader and said he “devised the Easter Egg-stye Punk Hunt as a way to playfully present the Punks as sneaking into Christie’s.

“I know I’m technically a Christie’s suit, but I hope you know how hard I’m trying to be a kind of Punks evangelist from within this 300-year-old corporation,” he said on Discord. 

The whole saga was eventually moot—the winner who paid $17 million in Ether for Cryptopunks was a contingent led by Haralabos Voulgaris, who has since tried to shit-talk your Wet Paint scribe on the internet, with varying degree of success—but it shows that the auction houses will need to bend over backwards to convince the new guard of crypto collectors to buy from them. In his rant, G Money threatened at one point to tell his D.A.O. to buy and sell works through online vendors, where the commission is a fraction of what Christie’s takes. He even threatened to do the worst thing possible: take his business to Sotheby’s

Christie’s declined to comment. G Money did not respond to a DM. 

 

CHRISTINA QUARLES GOES MEGA WITH HAUSER & WIRTH 

Christina Quarles. Courtesy Pilar Corrias, London. Photo: Ilona Szwarc

In late 2019, around the time that a strange virus started making the rounds in the industrial city of Wuhan, the mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth went on a representation tear. Avery Singer, George Condo, Nicole Eisenman, and Henry Taylor all joined the gallery in quick succession in the last few months of 2019 and early 2020. And while new artist announcements, along with everything else, kind of went on pause there for a while in 2020, the Swiss-born mega-gallery is once again adding some of the world’s most illustrious art-makers to its roster. Last fall Frank Bowling came on board, and this spring Hauser added Cindy Sherman and Gary Simmons, two artists who left Metro Pictures, which will close later this year. 

Now, Hauser has another new addition to the stacked roster: Christina Quarles, the 36-year-old phenom who currently has a blockbuster solo show at the MCA Chicago. They’ll rep her alongside her longtime London gallery Pilar Corrias, and the first show is at the New York Hauser space in the Fall of 2022. 

“She is a very strong young painter doing something completely on her own,” Hauser partner Marc Payot said when reached on the phone by Wet Paint to confirm the rumor. “The way she paints the body, with today’s digital tools, between abstraction and figuration, it reminds me of Maria Lassnig, but I also think of Louise Bourgeois. Louise would say, ‘My body is a sculpture,’ and in Cristina’s world that resonates quite a bit.”

Christina Quarles, Casually Cruel. (2018). Photo: Damian Griffiths. © Christina Quarles. Photo courtesy Hauser & Wirth.

The mega-gallery will also represent the artist in Los Angeles, meaning that she’s parting ways with Regen Projects, which added Quarles to the roster in 2018, giving her a show the next year.

(According to Quarles’s CV on the Pilar Corrias site, there is a solo show forthcoming at Regan in 2021, but that may not be happening—Quarles is no longer on the Regan Projects artists roster on its website.)

Christina Quarles, Forced Perspective (And I Kno It’s Rigged, But It’s tha Only Game in Town) (2018). Photo: Brian Forres. © Christina Quarles. Photo courtesy Hauser & Wirth.

And broadly, it means big things for Quarles, one of the few artists who maintained her star-making trajectory throughout the pandemic. At auction she’s broken records again and again, and in December a painting sold for $655,200, nearly six times its high estimate. Her not-that-prolific output means that, on the primary market, only the world’s top collectors get a sniff of the waiting list. Last December, when your Wet Paint scribe was in Miami, we visited the de la Cruz Collection, and upon entering, Rosa de la Cruz lead us straight to a gallery upstairs to show us her most prized new possession: Quarles’s Don’t They Know? it’s the End of tha World (2020). It’s now hanging on the walls of the MCA Chicago. Expect that sort of thing to happen a lot. 

 

POP QUIZ

Last week was too easy! A lot of people knew that the clue was a Josh Smith painting at the awesome Manhattan nightclub Paul’s Baby Grand. People like those paintings so much that someone tried to steal one once.

The first responders were many repeat Pop Quiz winners: Brussels-based curator Louis-Philippe Van Eeckhoutte; collector and patron Scott Lorinsky; Dan Desmond, executive director of the Blue Rider Group at Morgan Stanley; William Leach, a former trusts, estates, and valuations coordinator at Phillips; Sarah Goulet, the owner of Sarah Goulet Communications; Cyprien David, exhibition coordinator at Gagosian Zurich; Krause Co. founder Molly Krause; Darrow Contemporary founder Meredith Darrow; See/Saw founder Ellen Swieskowski; and Andrew Reed, online sales associate at David Zwirner. There were more who got it right, but only the first ten responders get their name in print! Them’s the breaks!

Here’s another chance at Pop Quiz glory: Name the artwork here, its owner, and where it is installed! 

Send guesses to [email protected]. You know the drill. 

 

WE HEAR…

Ignacio Mattos is in talks to run Estela-like restaurants at the forthcoming hotel in the Jarmulowsky Bank Building, the construction project that’s been happening in Dimes Square for nearly a decade … Downs and Ross is opening a project space in Tribeca, not in a storefront but in an honest-to-goodness apartment, on 65 Reade Street … The Los Angeles gallery shared by Mexico City’s House of Gaga and New York’s Reena Spaulings is leaving its longtime MacArthur Park space, which had dreamy views of one of the east side’s cooler lakes … 

Lily Collins, Jeremy O. Harris and Ashley Park on set in Paris. Photo courtesy Instagram stories.

Jeremy O. Harris will be on the new season of Emily in ParisWhite Cube now represents the South African artist Cinga Samson … One of the Andy Warhol NFTs sold at Christie’s for $1.17 million, with bidding coming in at the final seconds Thursday afternoon … Gary Simmons will curate a group survey at Rebecca Camacho Presents, the dealer’s eponymous gallery in San FranciscoThe Bioscleave House, a wild East Hampton estate built by artists Madeline Gins and Arakawa, is back on the market for $975,000 …  Anna Gray, Franklin Parrasch, and Carolyn Ramo are opening a gallery called Airfield at 26 Downs Street in downtown Kingston, New York—it opens Sunday, and it’s around the corner from epically delicious local eatery Lunch Nightly …  The Estate of John Baldessari is now repped globally by Sprüth Magers, along with Mai 36 in Zurich and Galerie Greta Meert in Brussels—but no longer the artist’s longtime dealer during his lifetime, Marian Goodman Gallery in New York … 

Derek Blasberg and his partner, Nick Brown, are now parents to newborn twins, mazel tov! … The next run of the Oscars have been pushed back to March 27, 2022, which means that Larry Gagosian will have to push back his annual Oscars exhibition at the Beverly Hills space (always followed by dinner at Mr. Chow and an after-party at Gago’s Holmby Hills pad) to the Thursday when the art world is halfway around the world in Hong Kong for Art Basel, sigh, the whole circuit’s gonna be screwed up for years … The Instagram account for the HBO Max reboot of Gossip Girl has been placing select members of the media and art community on its Close Friends list in meta-experiment that will mirror the show’s anonymous dish-spreader, but so far the only content they’ve posted is a black screen informing their few Close Friend followers that they’ll read receipts—nice try GG, but you know there’s just one and only source into the scandalous lives of the art world’s elite, you know you love me, XOXO … 

Hey Upper East Siders… Photo courtesy a tipster.

 

SPOTTED

*** A smattering of heavy hitting artists and curators at the opening of Nicola Vassel’s new gallery in Chelsea, including Hank Willis Thomas, David Byrne, Rashid Johnson, Sheree Hovsepian, Fred Eversley, Ming Smith (who has the show at the gallery), Hall Chase, Tschabalala Self, Arthur Jafa, as well as collectors Jeanne Greenberg and Peter Soros *** The downtown scene decamping to Long Island City to celebrate Alex Eagleton’s show at The Journal Gallery with a dinner at Mina’s, the beloved restaurant at MoMA PS1—artists present included Leelee Kimmel, Chloe Wise, Louie Eisner (with his girlfriend, designer Ashley Olsen), Rachel Rossin, all eating delicious food from the master Mina Stone ***

*** Lucien Smith at Casa Cipriani to premiere a new short film made to launch a shoe he designed for Adidas Originals, keep your eyes peeled for a cameo by yours truly *** Takeshi 6ix9ine on Broadway and Broome, just sort of hanging out on a stoop in SoHo, what a town! *** Joan Didion being wheeled around Central Park on a sunny Thursday afternoon *** Collector and rapper Mike D at Atla *** A selection of art and fashion bold names at the rooftop cocktail bar Happy Be, now open high above Tribeca *** D.C. dealer Todd von Ammon, in town for his Catharine Czudej pop up that ran during Frieze, checking out Chinatown hotspot Dr. Clark’s, where writer and publicist Kaitlin Phillips was, intriguingly, carrying around a small painting by Pablo Barba *** The Drunken Canal crew celebrating their new issue with a raucous karaoke night at Winnie’s Saturday ***

Chloe on the jumbotron. Photo courtesy a tipster.

*** Chloë Sevigny and her husband, Karma director Sinisa Mackovic, at the Knicks playoff game Wednesday at the Garden, go New York go New York go! *** Devin Troy Strother celebrating his new show at Broadway gallery with a dinner Saturday at Wu’s Wonton King, which my oenophile friends say is low-key the best BYOB setup in Manhattan—you pick up some dope pét-nat at People’s and enjoy whole giant crabs and suckling pigs, what could be better *** Iwan Wirth in a kilt at his birthday party *** 

PARTING SHOT

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