Wet Paint

Wet Paint in the Wild: Performance Artist Miles Greenberg Transforms Into St. Sebastian—Arrow Piercings and All—at the Louvre


Welcome to Wet Paint in the Wild, the freewheeling—and free!—spinoff of Midnight Publishing Group News Pro’s beloved Wet Paint gossip column, where we give art-world insiders a disposable camera to chronicle their lives on the circuit. To read the latest Wet Paint column, click here (members only).

On the heels of his remarkable outing in the New Museum’s atrium, performance artist and sculptor Miles Greenberg is beginning to seize the art world by storm.

The 25-year-old artist, who has studied under such legends of performance art as Marina Abramović and Robert Wilson, was invited to the Louvre to perform and film his new work Étude Pour Sébastien (2023), which sees the artist engage with a durational performance at night in the storied museum, painted and pierced with real arrows.

I am truly beside myself that I get to share a preview of the making of the film, which premieres at the Louvre on January 19, and online January 26, here in Wet Paint in the Wild for you fine folks. Take it away, Miles!

We set up shop in the Hotel Du Louvre. I was happy they’d given us the room that was behind the letter “L” in Louvre on the sign on the façade facing the Comédie Française. You could see the big letter from the bed and that felt like a good omen. I started getting into paint around 3 p.m., and I bought a €20 hoodie from the tourist shop across the street (“PARIS” embroidered on the chest) to avoid fucking up the hotel bathrobe too severely.

I also bought myself some roses. €4.

To put in sclera lenses, you have to imagine shoving a Canadian $2 coin into your eye socket like a vending machine. They’re about two and a half centimeters across and cover every visible bit of white. Your eye just vanishes.

At around 5:06 p.m. we rushed out of the hotel; my boyfriend, Viðar Logi, my best friend in Paris and former roommate Rachel Halickman (she’s a vintage fashion archivist who moonlights as my stage manager for all my shows in France), two journalists, two makeup artists, a piercer, a filmmaker, and then me, wearing a bathrobe, slippers, a hoodie, and sunglasses. We brought our own food and water in two massive Monoprix bags.

We arrived at a secret side entrance at exactly 5:10, where the camera crew and the curator’s assistant were waiting for us with our badges. We made our way down through winding corridors until we got to a wide passageway where the last tourists were slowly filing out. The museum was still open until 6 p.m. The camera crew went ahead to load in gear while I sat behind a large Egyptian column and waited until the coast was clear. When it was, I was escorted to Cours Marly. Now, the museum was closed, and we were locked inside.

Cours Marly is my favorite room at the Louvre. It’s so grandiose in its proportions yet still feels incredibly quiet. Each piece in it is full of movement. All statues originally came from the garden of Louis XIV’s second home west of Versailles called Chateau de Marly.

Two of the larger marbles are personifications of river spirits representing the Seine and the Marne rivers, respectively. A third one depicting Neptune sits between the two.

The piercer, whom I found through a friend of a friend of a friend of Ron Athey (legend), set up her tools in the security guards’ break room nearby. Her job was to mark the spots we’d be piercing the arrows through my body (pec, hip, shoulder, ribs), disinfect the area, and run the sharp tip through my skin.

After some camera tests and light stretching, we started the hard part. Océane, our piercer, began prepping the area.

Getting stabbed is a very frightening kind of pain. I wouldn’t recommend it. Your body knows that when a large-ish sharp object punctures your skin, there’s a good chance it might kill you, so your whole body just floods with adrenaline. Both my sight and my hearing all but disappeared for about 20 solid seconds. I later learned that this sensory shutoff is a natural response your body produces when it thinks you might be about to die. It’s so that you can avoid feeling a painful death. I somehow find that kind of comforting. Our bodies take really good care of us.

Anyway, I felt like I was dying for about a minute, slumped over in the sofa and dripping with cold sweat. After that minute passed though, a total transformation took place. My body became light and strong. It was just like the feeling of breaking a fever, times 1,000. I sat bolt upright with a flash of energy. It felt like my peripheral vision expanded by an extra 1,000; I could feel every inch of my body so acutely; I was so laser focused that I could count the hairs in someone’s eyebrow.

I barely felt the second one.

I thought that blood trickle looked so hot.

The blood is done coagulating, so we do some paint retouching.

7:30, I head into the main space. The cameras are ready and I’ve peed at least thrice.

I really liked this guy with his goat.

I performed about five hours as Saint Sebastian. Starting completely immobile, I very, very slowly would shift into every pose of his I knew from every painting, sculpture and etching in my memory. I felt the arrows like beams of light shooting through my body while I felt my heart rate slow in the freezing cold empty stone room. I became a stone, too.

After about an hour of quasi-stillness, I gradually began to ambulate through the space. Eventually I started going up and down stairs, interacting with the other sculptures, lying down, playing with the arrows, even running. My brain began to shut off then and everything was intuitive—I barely remember what I did.

After five-ish hours were up, the Océane came back down and we took out the arrows, one by one. I suddenly felt very cold. She patched me up as they started to pack the equipment. I called cut, the crew wrapped, and while I sprinted up to the break room, sat down absolutely giddy and ate half a loaf of rice bread. I asked the curator if I could go see the Mona Lisa, I was flatly denied.

We were led out of the Louvre through the glass pyramid. The security guards escorted us all with a flashlight out into the moonlit atrium, where we were greeted by the sound of german shepherds (!!!!!!) gnashing their teeth, ready to run after us. We hurried out of the building, all laughing and out of breath. The outer fence was closed for the night, so we had to toss all the camera equipment over and scale it to get out. I lit up a celebratory cigarette, like someone who’d just had sex. We all lingered a bit after having shared such a surreal experience, but eventually said our goodbyes.

Viðar and I got back to our hotel room around 1:30 or 2 a.m. I took three long showers (the bathtub looked like we’d performed an exorcism in it by the time I was finished), and then we crawled into bed and watched Hunter x Hunter until we passed out. I slept for about 10 hours.

The scarring was very minimal the next morning, you could barely see them. I felt fine the next day, just a bit sore.

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The Truth About Anna and Larry’s Relationship Status, Jens Hoffmann and His Imaginary Friends Start a Gallery, and More Juicy Art World Gossip


YOU CAN GAGO YOUR OWN WEYANT

If I had a dollar for every rumor I’ve heard about Anna Weyant and Larry Gagosian that isn’t true, well, let’s just say drinks on me next time.

In the year-and-a-halfish that their relationship has been semi-public, there’ve been rumors that they broke up and got back together ad infinitum—rumors that, if I were to put them into writing, would surely result in me getting sued and never being able to afford a round of drinks again—plus, of course, endless fluff from a circus of characters trying to take credit for the power-couple’s meet-cute. 

Most recently, the buzz has been that the two broke up. I’ve heard this from a multitude of sources. One such source told me the breakup happened the day after Weyant’s first show at Gagosian opened uptown last November—“She got her bag, then she got out!” that source told me. A since-scrapped Page Six report had gathered different intel, concluding that the breakup had happened at some point in December. Apparently the rumored split has been quite the conversation topic du jour among the upper echelons: Mary Boone was overheard dishing about the rumored split, I heard about at least one prominent dealer with plans to ask Weyant out on a date, and apparently it even got a mention at a recent internal meeting among Jack Shainman’s staff—the professional impetus for which remains unclear. The takeaway, however, is certain: people sure love to pretend like they have insider knowledge about the art world’s most talked-about couple. 

I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but you’re, um, all incorrect. According to sources extremely close to the couple, Gagoyant is still holding firm in the new year. In fact, the two even rang in 2023 together at Gagosian’s beach house in the 1%-er enclave of Saint Barts, where he’s holidayed before.

A representative speaking on behalf of the gallery declined to comment on their boss’s current relationship status, shockingly, and Weyant didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. So, I can really only confirm it up to the minute that my sources close to them last spoke to me. As it stands now, Weyant remains listed on the Gagosian roster, and the winds haven’t changed direction in New York City, which I imagine they would once that partnership terminates. Until then, the art world’s buzziest merger remains status quo, do not be alarmed. 

JENS HOFFMANN’S SILENT PARTNERS

Hoffmann+Maler+Wallenberg. Courtesy Jens Hoffmann.

It’s been a while since we heard from curator Jens Hoffmann. The curator has been pretty low-key since he was removed from his role as a curator of the Jewish Museum in 2017 following an investigation over allegations of sexual harassment leveled against him by former colleagues. As it turns out, though, Hoffmann has still been fairly active in the art world, penning an essay on Anna Weyant (I mentioned her again! Drink!) and helping start up a gallery in Bogota, Columbia. Most compelling to me, however is his new appointment-only gallery in Nice, France, called Hoffmann+Maler+Wallenberg. Why’s that? Well, because his other two partners in the gallery don’t exist. 

“Well, really they’re my spiritual co-pilots,” Hoffmann told me over the phone of his fictitious  co-founders, Gustaf Maler (Like the composer? “Nope”) and Esther Wallenberg

“It was a bit of a joke. It’s like, say, Hauser & Wirth or Sprüth Magers. When there’s two names involved with the gallery, people like the sound of that,” he explained further. “There’s more weight to it.” So, presumably, to add that much more oomph to his gallery name he added not one but two cosmetic surnames. Adopting a fake persona as a business strategy isn’t such a distant idea to Hoffmann either, as his partner Emily Sundblad is a director of Reena Spaulings, the famous pseudonymous artist-run-gallery. “It’s in a similar vein to that, yeah,” Hoffmann said. 

In the year and a half since the space opened in France, the gallery has opened an office in Greenwich Village, and there are apparently plans to open up shop in Stockholm and Palm Springs. Thus, if the “grow or go” valuation of success means anything, Hoffmann’s deceptive little plan seems to be working. He explained, “It’s in its early phases so I’m waiting to see where it goes. I’m just happy to set this up and figure out a program that makes sense. We’re in a beginning phase, an experimental phase.”

WE HEAR…

Opening night of Tchotchke’s space in Brooklyn. Courtesy of the gallery.

That he formerly digital Tchotchke Gallery opened its first ever physical space in East Williamsburg at 311 Graham Avenue this week… That when Sam Orlofsky was still at Gagosian, apparently he had a special mandate that no female assistant of his could be above a size six… That Jessica Silverman has picked up representation of painter Chelsea Ryoko Wong… That Ruttkowski 68, which has spaces in Paris and Dusseldorf, has opened its third location in New York City in Cortland Alley… That a painting by up-and-coming artist Sally J. Han was acquired by the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami… That Lena Dunham mentioned in her Perfectly Imperfect essay that Lisa Yuskavage is quite the SoulCycle maven… that, speaking of art world nepo-babies, Max Werner has left his father Michael Werner’s eponymous gallery to work with TOTAH… that the Whitney has acquired one of Hugh Hayden’s fabulous basketball-hoop sculptures, Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum (2021)… That Lehmann Maupin has added Ken Tan as the director of their Singapore space…

 

SPOTTED

Thomas Houseago, Henry Taylor, Albert Oehlen, and Brad Pitt took a boys trip to MoCA Los Angeles *** Speaking of mensches, Jay McInerney rang in the New Year at the Mercer Kitchen with his old pal Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten *** Christine Brache, Charlie Kaufman, Gideon Jacobs, and Natasha Stagg read poems from the late Silver Jews frontman and former Met Breuer security guard David Berman’s book of poetry “Actual Air” at a tribute performance organized by Caveh Zahedi *** Ellie Rines hosted a dinner party at Anna Delvey‘s apartment, and Al Freeman Jr.Scott LorinskyAlissa BennetChrissie Miller, and Jamian Juliano-Villani all stopped by for pizza and gossip (fun fact: Delvey has not watched the Netflix show about her life, but has been enjoying the series about Bernie Madoff!) *** Kembra Pfahler seems to be a new face of Batsheva *** Apparently Marc Spiegler received an inquiry that was meant for Mark Spiegler, a porn entrepreneur behind “Spiegler Girls” ***

WET PAINT QUESTIONNAIRE

It’s been a while since I’ve seen you folks. To ring in a New Year of Wet Paint, I ask you: Who in the art world is the most addicted to TikTok? Email your response to [email protected]

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Top Tennis Player Fined Over Gallery Sponsorship, Art Basel’s Last-Ditch Effort to Keep Dealers From Fleeing + More Art-World Gossip


Every week, Midnight Publishing Group News brings you Wet Paint, a gossip column of original scoops by our crack team of reporters. This week, we welcome Julie Baumgardner into the mix… 

ART WORLD TO USTA: WHERE’S THE LOVE? 

Usually fashion lays claim to tennis as its sport, but there’s news out of the U.S. Open that crashes into the art world. American singles player Reilly Opelka recently was fined by the United States Tennis Association for sporting a pink tote bag from Belgium’s Tim Van Laere Gallery.

No, the problem wasn’t that tote bags are contributing big time to the climate crisis. It was that the branded bag was “unapproved” (under USTA rules, players cannot wear any gear on the court with logos that exceed four square inches). Opelka—the highest ranking American men’s player in the U.S. Open, who has been deemed the “next great hope” for U.S. men’s tennis—was summarily slapped with a $10,000 fine.

It didn’t take long for the situation to catapult this little pink tote into a blurry confluence of art project, practical object, cult status symbol… and, as Venus Williams joked on Instagram, a $10,000 asset for which she got in at the “seed round.” (In reality, Reilly gave her one of the now-cult bags as a gift.)

Opelka is the only professional tennis player with a gallery as a sponsor—and his tote marked the first time an art organization has been visible on the court.

The partnership derived from the two men’s shared passion for art and tennis. While Opelka is a dedicated collector, Van Laere played tennis professionally for two years after playing in college (“at a lower level,” the dealer clarifies). The only other art-collecting men’s tennis player to come to mind is, of course, John McEnroe. And the comparisons between the two Americans have already started, with McEnroe himself calling Opelka “a dangerous” player.

Under the terms of their arrangement, Van Laere sports a gallery patch on his shirt sleeve and uses the branded tote to carry necessary equipment (like shoes for third, fourth, and fifth sets, we’re told).

The gallery pays Opelka in exchange—Van Laere declined to state how much, but assured us it’s not at the level of a sportswear brand. Opelka and Van Laere “prefer to call it a partnership not a sponsorship,” the gallerist says, seeing it as an opportunity to elevate the arts through tennis. “It’s not about money, it’s about being creative in our collaboration and finding more opportunities to mix both worlds,” Van Laere explains.

Both men were scandalized by the pricey slap on the wrist. “Reilly was just in Toronto for the Open final. He brought it [the tote] in the French Open, everyone thought it was cool,” Van Laere recounts. “He didn’t have a problem. Only in the U.S. Open did he get fined.” (Opelka, for his part, groused on Twitter: “U.S. open ticket sales must be strugglin this year.”)

The art-tennis crew may have gotten the last laugh. Van Laere rallied some of the artists Opelka collects, who also happen to be tennis players themselves—Rinus Van de Velde and Friedrich Kunath—to toss in a bit of performance-protest.

Kunath, who traveled from L.A. to watch his friend play, turned the bags inside out and scribbled in marker, “UNAPPROVED.” Opelka debuted the modified version in his match against Lloyd Harris in the Round of 16. Sadly, Opelka is now out of the Open, but the pink bag will live on (and it’s probably already tripled in value).

BASEL CRAWLS BACK FROM THE BRINK

A visitor arrives at the 2019 edition of Art Basel, the last in-person version of the fair. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images.)

A visitor arrives at the 2019 edition of Art Basel, the last in-person version of the fair. (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images.)

While the flurry of fair activity descends upon New York as the Armory Show settles into its new home at the Jacob Javits Center and Independent sets up shop at Cipriani South Street, the buzz around town isn’t just about the revival of these fairs and how weird it is to see people from the top of the nose up. Instead, Basel is the word on everyone’s lips—and speculation about who’s going and who’s not has become a guessing game with deeper implications. Last weekend, a reliable tipster urgently told Wet Paint, “a mega-gallery is pulling out of Basel, expect the news to drop on Monday.”

Around the same time, a group of galleries—led by Lisson—sent a letter to Basel organizers asking that the show not go on. (The gallery did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

We spent all weekend furiously texting the majors to get ahead of the news. A representative for Gagosian said, “We are packing and shipping works as we speak, so it would seem we are going.” A sales director for Hauser & Wirth responded, “We’re packed and have our hotel rooms booked, so yes I am definitely going.” A representative from Pace flat-out denied any rumor, and while David Zwirner’s official channels have yet to comment, an employee said, “I’m looking at a shipping list so if we aren’t going, that would be weird?”

We went further afield. With the news that Lévy GorvyAmalia Dayan, and Salon 94 are forming a conglomerate and pulling out of all fairs but those in Asia (all the better to reach newer, younger collectors), it would seem rather obvious that one gallery (or all three!) wouldn’t be attending. Last we checked, Europe isn’t Asia—but LGDR also doesn’t formally debut until next year. Salon’s Jeanne Greenberg, who apologized for being occupied with Rosh Hashanah dinner, said, “we’ve shipped the works, so we better be there!” while a rep for Lévy Gorvy assured us that their original Basel plans have not changed. Denials also came in from more than half a dozen other dealers.

In the end, Basel may have managed, by the skin of its teeth, to keep dealers in line with the announcement of a $1.6 million “Solidarity Fund” designed to help participants offset some of their potential losses after the fact (but only, of course, if they don’t pull out).

In a conversation with Wet Paint, Art Basel’s global director Marc Spiegler confirmed that more than a handful of galleries had the intention of calling it quits. But “every single gallery,” he said proudly, “is now confirmed. We met fears with facts and we stepped up in an uncertain moment to calm the market. That came from being in dialogue with our galleries, and the ones who were planning to cancel or had reservations about attending are now enthusiastic and on board.”

With only two weeks ’til the show goes up—and many artworks already in transit—the window for any gallery on the fence to play Humpty Dumpty is closing fast.

SCENE SPOTTING

A screen shot of Cynthia Talmadge's work on Platform.

A screen shot of Cynthia Talmadge’s work on Platform.

***When word got out that work by in-demand artist Cynthia Talmadge, who has an impossibly long wait list at 56 Henry, had sold out within 20 minutes of going live on Platform, the David Zwirner-backed e-commerce initiative, it perplexed some buyers who logged onto the site the minute the batch went live, only to find them unavailable. Mystery solved: Wet Paint has learned that Zwirner provides participating galleries with VIP pre-sale codes so that preferred buyers can get in early. One dealer likened the arrangement to “an art fair where you pre-sell works” —which sure is all fine and dandy, except that Zwirner himself told the New York Times back in May, “We’re not sitting there and saying, ‘You get to buy it and you don’t.’ It’s first come, first served.” The gallery did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

*** Speaking of Platform, the art world’s hottest bachelor appears to be gallery scion (and Platform honcho) Lucas Zwirner—who was apparently dodging suitors at former Wet Paint scribe Nate Freeman’s recent wedding, with one reveler calling it “the groomsmen effect.” Another insider revealed that Lucas has been spotted multiple times a week at his family-backed restaurant Il Buco with “a different brunette” (the exception being recent dinner companion/ex Sienna Miller, who is blonde).

*** The gallery [On Approval], which has space in San Francisco‘s Minnesota Street Project gallery hub, is—appropriately for Silicon Valley—pivoting to an app. Founder Andrew McClintock, who also runs Ever Gold [Projects], has developed an online platform for “communal ownership” of contemporary art. Currently the app is in beta, and we hear they’re being particularly picky about which collectors they’re letting test out the concept.

*** In June, Wet Paint discovered that Mendes Wood is slated to open an upstate gallery in Germantown—turns out, they’re not going alone. They’re partnering with frequent collaborators Blum & Poe on a shared space a few doors down from the famed tavern Gaskins.

BLIND ITEMS

A sculpture by the artist Hugo Farmer at the Glastonbury Festival in the U.K. (Photo by Barry Lewis/In Pictures via Getty Images)

A sculpture by the artist Hugo Farmer at the Glastonbury Festival in the U.K. (Photo by Barry Lewis/In Pictures via Getty Images)

*** Which untouchable Minimalist master (who would’ve rejected that moniker) had a torrid affair with the country’s now-top art critic just back when they were getting their start? *** Which power dealer had a Rashid Johnson installed in their child’s New York University freshman dorm—which, according to a classmate, the spawn didn’t even like? *** Which 57th Street dealer has earned the nickname “Son of Sam” due in part to his father’s name, and also to his reputation for being rather terrifying to deal with? ***

PARTING SHOT

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Mega-Collector Aby Rosen Fined for Contempt, Rachel Dolezal’s Art Looks, Um, a Lot Like Glenn Ligon’s + More Art-World Gossip


Welcome to Wet Paint, a gossip column of original scoops reported and written by our crack team. This week, we welcome reporter Andrew Nodell into the mix… 

 

FAREWELL TO THE GRAMERCY?

While New York is starting to look a bit more like, well, New York, there are some Gotham icons that remain dark—including the Gramercy Park Hotel.

The downtown destination owned by preeminent art collector Aby Rosen’s RFR Holding group has long been a gathering place for the chic set during New York Fashion Week. Not so this season, as an ongoing legal dispute between Rosen et al. and the property’s landlord, Gramercy Park Partners, LLC, burns hotter than a Richard Prince sunset.

In recent months, nary a model, movie star, or mogul has laid eyes upon the hotel’s (read: Rosen’s) rotating art gallery, which boasts works by BasquiatTwombly, and Hirst, as the hotel has kept its Julian Schnabel-designed digs closed to the public since March 2020.

Remember when the Gramercy Park Hotel looked like this? Yeah, that was a long time ago. (Photo by Sean Zanni/Getty Images for Rose Bar)

Remember when the Gramercy Park Hotel looked like this? Yeah, that was a long time ago. Photo by Sean Zanni/Getty Images for Rose Bar.

RFR Holding, which Rosen founded with Michael Fuchs in 1991, began a 72-year lease of the iconic property in October 2006, which means they should be operating through 2078. But, alas, last winter, Wet Paint reported that the 1924 hotel—also home to New York City hotspots Rose BarJade Bar, the Gramercy Terrace rooftop, and chef Danny Meyer’s Italian eatery Maialino—had occupancy in the “single digits” and the concierge had stopped taking reservations.

And not only that: According to a notice pasted on the hotel’s front door, Rosen’s company owed nearly $900,000 in back rent to Solil Management, which owns the land beneath the hotel and represents the estate of the late real-estate magnate Sol Goldman.

The saga continued into the new year with the landlord serving RFR a notice terminating its lease on the 2 Lexington Avenue property, effective March 17. This comes in addition to a demand for “all pre- and post-termination sums” due to the landlord to the tune of $79.5 million. (N.B., that would only get you 87 percent of Jeff Koons’s Rabbit at auction, but that still seems like a pretty penny.)

Gramercy Park Hotel. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Corbis via Getty Images)

Gramercy Park Hotel. Photo by Marianna Massey/Corbis via Getty Images.

But wait, there’s more! On August 25, a New York Supreme Court judge ordered RFR to pay more than $3.9 million in overdue property tax and interest (and that’s on top of the back rent). And while it’s barely worth mentioning, Rosen’s holding group has also been fined $250 for contempt, and will be responsible for covering the landlord’s legal fees. We imagine the German-born tycoon is just about ready to pack up the Warhols and call it a day.

In additional documents obtained by Wet Paint, the landlord’s initial April 26 complaint claimed that Rosen and his RFR cronies “used the Gramercy Park Hotel for their own personal gain.” According to the landlords, Rosen’s mother lived rent-free for years in a three-bedroom suite at the hotel; the collector and his guests often enjoyed gratis meals at Maialino; and Rosen kept the hotel closed to paying guests and instead gave away free rooms to RFR employees so they could continue working during the pandemic “for the benefit of RFR and Rosen’s other real estate business ventures.”

Gramercy Park Hotel lobby. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Corbis via Getty Images)

Gramercy Park Hotel lobby. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Corbis via Getty Images)

Additionally, the landlord claims Rosen and Co. “extracted millions of dollars in profits” from the hotel to the detriment of the property, which they say has been “allowed to fall into a state of utter disrepair.” If that’s not enough, these documents also claim RFR and GPH Investors have received about $6.3 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program in 2020 and 2021 (though Wet Paint has not independently verified this claim).

Amidst this growing mountain of legal and financial woes, it could be curtains for the soignée hotel, which would spell the end of an era for both the New York nightlife scene and the art world. At the time of publishing there was no option to book a room; the hotel’s famed hospitality options—including Maialino—are listed online as “temporarily closed.”

Even the Rose Bar’s Instagram page is frozen at the dawn of the pandemic. Their most recent post, dated March 11, 2020, shows five women dressed in various forms of high-waisted pant having what appears to be the absolute time of their lives.

But perhaps dancing at 2 a.m. on velvet banquettes beside cartoonish Kenny Scharfs should remain a pre-pandemic memory, not a post-pandemic night out.

Rosen’s attorney did not return a call or email for comment, and the PR company listed on GPH’s website no longer represents the property.

 

CULTURAL APPROPRIATION

A screen shot of Rachel Dolezal's art website.

A screen shot of Rachel Dolezal’s art website.

Remember Rachel Dolezal? She gained international notoriety when, in 2015, it was revealed that the former Spokane, Washington, chapter president of the NAACP was born to white parents, despite identifying as Black. This was also around the time the artist, activist, and former Africana studies professor was accused of plagiarism when her work The Shape of Our Kind was alleged to be nearly identical to J.M.W. Turner’s 1840 work, The Slave Ship

Now, more than six years later, another work by Dolezal bears a more than a striking resemblance to the work of a famous artist. Anthology II depicts block lettering on a white background depicting names of Black Americans who have been shot by police officers. Artist Glenn Ligon posted a screenshot of the painting on his Instagram account. (If you felt the prospect of Rachel Dolezal appropriating the style of a prominent Black artist was on the nose, just wait until you see the work’s price: $2,020.)

“Well, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” wrote Ligon, who for more than 30 years has been known for creating large, text-based paintings in which a literary phrase or other words are repeated continuously, eventually fading into a haze. “Does that include blackface? Just asking.”

(The comments section includes an all-star lineup of famous artists expressing consternation, from Amy Sherald‘s “Oh lord not this 🥸😮🤭” to Bisa Butler‘s reply, “This body snatcher needs to be stopped.”)

One doesn’t have to be an art history scholar to see the similarities. Asked about the uncanny resemblance, a representative of Dolezal declined to address the comparison directly. “[She] is an artist who explores a wide range of techniques, including sculpture, painting, cut paper collage, printmaking, and drawing,” the rep told Wet Paint. “Her two distress-textured word paintings Anthology and Anthology II contain over 50 names on each canvas of individuals killed by police brutality or neighborhood vigilantes in the United States.”

The rep continued: “Rachel uses her art to underscore the necessity of standing up against inequality and injustice. She remains steadfast in her commitment to ending racism and police brutality and supporting human rights causes.”

Ligon has not responded to a request for further comment. 

The news comes on top of Dolezal’s announcement just two weeks ago that she was setting up an OnlyFans account. The website is mainly known for hosting adult content, but Dolezal promises subscribers who pay $4.99 a month conversations about fitness and hair, and above all, her art: “I bring the Art, you bring the wine/drinks. Watch me create & discuss my art.”

Screenshot of Rachel Dolezal's OnlyFans page.

Screenshot of Rachel Dolezal’s OnlyFans page.

She also teases “things like foot pics, posts of me using stuff people buy from my Amazon wishlist (available on my OnlyFans), makeup tutorials, promotions of causes & care about, & maybe random tasteful other pics/vids 😘.”

 

SCENE SPOTTING

A portrait of art dealer and curatorial dynamo Destinee Ross-Sutton by Kehinde Wiley has been given pride of place at the offices of Ariel Investments, the company led by collector and Lucas Museum cofounder Mellody Hobson, having been picked up at the Armory Show in 2019 … The media and art worlds united at the wedding of former Wet Paint scribe Nate Freeman and Lucy Poe, where guests included artists Chloe Wise and Laurie SimmonsNew York Times scribe Joe Coscarelli, New Yorker writer Naomi Fry, art dealers Mills Moran, George Newall, and Lucas Casso, and many more (Mazel to the happy couple!) … Marking over a year out of prison, Mary Boone is, according to a recent Whitehot magazine essay, “happily dealing privately.”

 

PARTING SHOT

 

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Ex-Sotheby’s Rainmakers Battle It Out With New Firms, Tastemaking Gallery Cuts a Chunk of Its Roster, & More Juicy Art-World Gossip


Every week, Midnight Publishing Group News 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]

 

WAR OF THE FORMER BID KINGS

In 2016, Sotheby’s rolled the dice and spent $50 million—plus $35 million in performance-contingent bonuses—to acquire Art Agency, Partners, a boutique advisory firm. Initially, the move was a bit baffling considering the amount of money involved, but it soon became clear why the deal got done: Sotheby’s needed to have on its team the trio of founders, Amy Cappellazzo, Allan Schwartzman, and Adam Chinn.

In the years since, Sotheby’s went private and all three have bolted from the world-conquering auction house. Now, they’re planning to set out on their own—with upstart enterprises that are due to go head to head.

Almost immediately after joining Sotheby’s, the three started making serious cash for their corporate overlords. Cappellazzo, once the leading rainmaker at archrival Christie’s, was back to her swashbuckling ways, swooping in to secure prize consignments through sheer brute force and egging on billionaires to bid that extra million on the phone.

Schwartzman was the more cerebral of the three and centered his attention on waxing philosophical on the much-heralded In Other Words podcast and newsletter while advising deep-pocketed clients like Howard Rachofsky, Penny Pritzker, Nicolas Berggruen, and—just the tiniest bit controversially—the Saudi royal family. (He’s on the advisory board of Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for Al Ula.)

Howard Rachofsky’s house in Dallas. Photo courtesy Rachofsky House.

The biggest surprise was Chinn. For a guy with a background as a lawyer and investment banker, his role at an art advisory firm was less obvious, and his role at an auction house, downright head-scratching. But he quickly became a fixture on the phone bank, barking into the receiver, goading on the ultra-rich to nab that pricey Picasso.

After a stint advising for the notorious Mugrabi family—the clan with hundreds of war halls and the balls to disrupt global markets through speculative buying—Chinn started an online auction business called LiveArt, and the buzziest takeaway is that it’s an online platform where both buyer and seller are completely anonymous to one another and can quickly transact without the messiness of personality getting in the way. What’s more, Chinn is only charging a 10 percent commission, with the hope that clients would come to him rather than his former employer, another gallery, or advisory firm.

A view outside Sotheby's in New York City. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images.

A view outside Sotheby’s in New York City. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images.

(Chinn also threw a splashy dinner Tuesday night at Bar Primi on the Bowery—also known as the place you begrudgingly head to when Gemma is full—with a slightly thirsty Paperless Post that included the entire bill of fare for the evening. Ricotta crostini with truffle honey, anyone?)

Competing for oxygen in the art-market atmosphere is Schwartzman and Associates, the still under-the-radar operation that hopes to become the go-to shop for the world’s most tasteful billionaires and their museums. Although he’s yet to launch publicly, Schwartzman has already built a crackerjack team of art-market sharpshooters including many former Art Agency Partners colleagues. There are also a few ringers mixed in, including Simon Preston, the onetime Lower East Side gallery owner who had a short stay at Pace before getting axed in a round of layoffs. Rounding out the team are vets from LVMH, Sotheby’s, and David Zwirner

As for Cappellazzo, sources say she’s planning her own deeply ambitious shop, a firm suited to a post-COVID world where good material is hard to come by but demand—and the capital to fuel it—is endless. After wrapping up her time at Sotheby’s in the next few weeks, she’s going to take the summer off and launch in mid-fall. 

Cappellazzo and Schwartzman declined to comment; Chinn did not respond to an email. 

GALLERY ROSTER PURGE 

David Nolan’s uptown space. Phoo courtesy David Nolan.

Word came down last week in hushed whispers: a large chunk of the roster of David Nolan Gallery had been taken off the site seemingly overnight. The timing was odd: Since moving from the northern part of West Chelsea a few years back to a stately townhouse on the Upper East Side, David Nolan, who has maintained a gallery presence in New York for decades, seems to be absolutely thriving. The show up right now—a survey of artists nurtured and championed by the great dealer Klaus Kertess—has been a real hit, drawing even the most staunch of downtown kids up to the nabe that Nolan now calls home.

Installation view of 13 Artists: A Tribute to Klaus Kertess’ Bykert Gallery 1966-75. Phoo courtesy David Nolan Gallery.

But one thing is clear: a number of longtime Nolan artists who were listed on the roster earlier this year are no longer there. According to a cached screengrab of the official list from March of this year—thanks again, Wayback Machine—the following artists were all on the roster at the time: Alice Maher, Ray Yoshida, Gavin Turk, Alexander RossSteve DiBenedetto, and Serban Savu. Now, they are all off (or have been demoted from “represented” to simply having “works available”), leaving the roster at 16 artists including Barry Le Va, who died earlier this year. 

What happened? Wet Paint reached out to them all; many did not respond. One of those who was reached said they hadn’t worked with the gallery in years, indicating the purge could have been a matter of summer housekeeping rather than a coordinated mutiny or a brutal culling. Nolan didn’t respond to a request for comment.

 

WET PAINT SCRIBE OUT

The Wet Paint hat at Lucien. Photo courtesy Nate Freeman.

One more bit of breaking news: After nearly 80 columns chock full of scandal and gossip, your faithful Wet Paint scribe will be leaving Midnight Publishing Group at the end of the month to become an art columnist and staff writer at Vanity Fair

Which means: Midnight Publishing Group needs a new gossipmonger to take over this illustrious column! Do you think it could be you? If so, see the full job posting here and submit an application. 

And, since you are wondering, yes, I will figure out what to do about all those hats. Stay tuned for an update in the next column, which will resume after a July 4th break.

POP QUIZ

In honor of the Cady Noland show at Galerie Buchholz, last week’s clue was her great work Oozewald, shown from behind. It was bought by Mitchell and Emily Rales for their private museum, Glenstone. Only three winners this time: Brussels-based curator Louis-Philippe Van Eeckhoutte; Cyprien David, exhibition coordinator at Gagosian Geneva;  and Dan Desmond, executive director of the Blue Rider Group at Morgan Stanley.  

Here is this week’s clue. Name the artist and the owner!

Send guesses to [email protected] 

WE HEAR…

… Will Ferrell and his wife, Viveca Paulin-Ferrell, have loaned a handsome Huguette Caland to the Drawing Center‘s current show … Pace is letting Michael Xufu Huang, the founder of Beijing‘s X Museum, curate a show at its space in Palo Alto …  Charles Ray will be showing a new self-portrait at Glenstone, to be unveiled this December … Gagosian is doing Felix, the Los Angeles fair held at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, for the first time, and the booth features works by Duane Hanson, Ed Ruscha, and Taryn Simon that “provide an illuminating contrast between real life and Los Angeles’s more elusive fantasies of glamour and fame” … Speaking of Felix, the art-world podcast Nota Bene will be throwing a big party at some point that week, stay tuned … George Adams Gallery has opened its new space in Tribeca, with the storefront found by downtown’s top white-cube procurer, Jonathan Travis … 

George Adams Gallery in Tribeca. Photo courtesy George Adams Gallery.

SPOTTED 

Four editions of Good Hair I (2021) by Hugh Hayden, included in his new show at Lisson, “Huey.” Photo by Nate Freeman.

*** Hundreds of downtown artists, dealers, and collectors at the Bowery Grand Hotel party hosted by Lisson Gallery to mark the openings of shows by Hugh Hayden and Van Hanos, both extremely buzzy and must-see …  David Zwirner throwing the afterparty for the opening of “More Life,” a series of shows marking the 40th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic, with a party at Julius, said to be the oldest continuously operated gay bar in New York *** Actress and noted hanger-on to art cliques Margaret Qualley at Supper in the East Village with fellow actor Lucas Hedges ***

PARING SHOT

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