Elizabeth Peyton Painted Lucas Zwirner’s Portrait for Her Debut Outing With His Dad’s Gallery + Other Stories

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 21.


Do George Bush’s Paintings Show More Regret Than He Admits? –  Two decades after he ordered the U.S.’s invasion of Iraq and took down Saddam Hussein, former President George W. Bush remains quiet, but critics are looking at his paintings to try to get a clue about how he felt about the war. “On the one hand, he appears to believe that his decision to invade Iraq was correct,” writes historian Melvyn P. Leffler. “On the other hand, looking at his book of paintings, you have to imagine that deep in his soul he feels a great deal of agony, of responsibility, of regret for those whose lives were scarred forever and for those who perished.” (The New York Times)

Elizabeth Peyton Makes Debut With David Zwirner – For its inaugural display of the artist’s work at an art fair, Zwirner has brought two portraits of the mega-gallerists heir apparent, each titled simply Lucas Zwirner (2022) to Art Basel in Hong Kong. Back in February, Petyon’s rumored defection from longtime gallerist Gladstone Gallery sparked chatter within the art world; her first solo show at the gallery’s London outpost is slated to take place in June. (ARTnews)

Will AI Make Human Art More Valuable? – The rise of generative AI model might have led some to believe that AI will make better art than most humans, but McGill University’s international political economy professor Krzysztof Pelc doesn’t think so. Pelc argues that the definition of “better” changes over time, as demonstrated over the course of history, and human artists will also win as our tastes evolve. (Wired)

Museum Planned for Mayan Complex – Chichén Itzá, the most visited archeological site in Mexico, is expecting a new museum to showcase the region’s latest archaeological discoveries. The yet-to-be named museum is still in the planning stage and is likely to follow the site museum model at other complexes. (The Art Newspaper)


Museum Closed Over Anticipated Climate Protests – The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston opted not to open after it was informed that activists were planning a protest that could potentially damage artworks and put staff and visitors at risk. The planned demonstration was set to take place on March 18, the 33rd anniversary of the infamous, and still unsolved heist, at the museum. (Press release)

Thaddaeus Ropac Now Reps Zadie Xa – The gallery has taken over exclusive representation of the buzzy artist, whose work is currently on display at London’s Whitechapel Gallery through the end of April. The Korean-Canadian artist’s work explores themes of personal and global identities in fantastical installations and mixed media works. The gallery sold two works by Xa each priced £20,000 ($24,500) on the first day of Art Basel Hong Kong. (Press release)

Peres Projects Seoul New Space Opening – After its first year with an Asian outpost, Peres Projects is expanding with a second gallery in the Sagan-dong neighborhood of Seoul. The four-floor space will open on April 28, 2023 with two inaugural exhibitions: a solo show of London-based Cece Phillips and a group show including Manuel Solano, Austin Lee, and Rafa Silvares, among others. (Press release)


Museums Reattribute Artworks Classified as Russian – Museums are renaming artworks and artists previously attributed as Russian into Ukrainian to reflect the roots of the works and the artists. Edgar Degas’s Russian Dancers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, for example, is now called Dancers in Ukrainian Dress. (NYT)

Edgar Degas, <i>Ukrainian Dancers</i>. Photo by: Picturenow/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

Edgar Degas, Ukrainian Dancers. Photo by: Picturenow/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

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What Does It Take to Build a Successful Gallery in London? Two Generations of Emerging Dealers Hash It Out

The London gallery scene is not an easy landscape to navigate. High rents and stiff competition combine to make not only the prospect of opening but of staying open feel like a herculean challenge. Yet it is these very constraints that have led some to take alternative and more creative approaches to what a gallery could and should be. 

Freddie Powell opened pocket-sized Ginny on Frederick last year in a former sandwich shop that shuttered during lockdown. His program is informed by the kind of temporary and ephemeral exhibitions more commonly seen in artist-run project spaces, and many of the artists who he has exhibited have never shown before in London. It has become known as something of an incubator for new talent, and a place for collectors to get in at the ground level.  

The experimental approach of Ginny on Frederick is directly influenced by a generation of ambitious galleries who sprung up a decade ago, including Carlos/Ishikawa. Opened by Vanessa Carlos in 2012 in an industrial yard in Whitechapel, East London, the gallery took on artists who were straight out of art school. In 2016 she launched the gallery-share program Condo, which brought together galleries across London as hosts for colleagues from around the world, a form of exchange and collaboration that has continued to have ripple effects within the scene. 

In that same spirit of knowledge-sharing, Carlos and Powell sat down together on a cold afternoon in early spring to reflect upon the challenges of opening their galleries, and what it really means to put the artist first. 

"Korakrit Arunanondchai: No history in a room filled with people with funny names 5," Carlos/Ishikawa, London, 23 November – 22 December 2018 © Korakrit Arunanondchai 2023, Courtesy of the artist; Bangkok CityCity Gallery; Carlos/Ishikawa, London; C L E A R I N G, New York / Brussels; and Kukje Gallery, Seoul. Photo: Stephen James.

“Korakrit Arunanondchai: No history in a room filled with people with funny names 5,” Carlos/Ishikawa, London, 23 November – 22 December 2018 © Korakrit Arunanondchai 2023, Courtesy of the artist; Bangkok CityCity Gallery; Carlos/Ishikawa, London; C L E A R I N G, New York / Brussels; and Kukje Gallery, Seoul. Photo: Stephen James.

Vanessa Carlos: I came over from Brazil to go to art school, and I quickly realized that I couldn’t be an artist. I think artists have an extraordinary level of commitment that’s like: “I don’t care what anyone thinks, I’m going to keep making it, even at the expense of my own stability.” I was full of doubts and I found it paralysing.  

During my university holidays as a student, I waitressed to be able to take on unpaid internships at Gagosian and Parasol Unit, and when I graduated I started working the next day at Stuart Shave Modern Art on a maternity cover because I already knew I wasn’t an artist. 

Freddie Powell: I studied art in Providence, Rhode Island, and I was also pretty terrible at it. When I came back to London I interned at Union Pacific and a smaller gallery, before running the bookshop at White Cube. That led to an interest in how artists think and how artists see the world. I figured having a gallery would help me to spend more time with them, but also allow other people to spend time with their ideas too. 

I found the space on a walk during the pandemic. Seeing the sandwich shop with the white tiles reminded me of the spaces I used to visit in the Lower East Side in New York. I always knew I wanted a tiny space because it was originally only going to be open on the weekends while I kept my job at White Cube. Thankfully I had that job because it allowed me to program in a way that was very artist-led, which was always my ambition. 

I am still without heating or toilet, but it is flexible because it’s really affordable, so it’s allowed me to experiment and figure out what I want the gallery to do or be. 

VC: The only criteria I had when I was looking for a space was something that would limit the ambitions of the artists as little as possible, within what little I could afford. I had been working at The Approach for six years, and I’d also co-founded a not-for-profit project space called Wallis Gallery with Ed Fornieles, who I went to art school with and now represent, which was very performance focused. I was curating performance events freelance for the Barbican and the Royal Academy on the side. 

I never thought of opening my own space; I guess I didn’t have the confidence for it. Then one of my childhood friends needed to put some money into a new business for visa reasons. I was really scared of leaving my job and after a lot of very anguished deliberation, I thought, okay, I’ll do it. And then, within six months, she didn’t want to do it anymore. It was so stressful; I remember calculating how many days I would have to be waitressing on the side to keep the gallery afloat. But then things got going and Oscar Murillo started taking off. Weirdly, the timing worked out perfectly.  

That was 11 years ago now, and we still don’t have heating in the gallery space. David Zwirner remembers that when he came to see Oscar’s show, he could see his own breath in the cold.  He said, “My underfloor heating is also broken!” The yard that we’re in is like a microcosm of London: you have an accountant, a Nigerian church, a mosque, a tattoo studio, a ghost kitchen, and the drug dealers. 

Issy Wood has her studio right next-door in the yard.  We’ve all been neighbours pretty much this whole time and it really functions like a community. We’ve got three units now and probably with the combined rent we could just get something in Mayfair, but I don’t want to. The floor always looks terrible but it communicates to the artists: do whatever the hell you want. That’s why I love it still.

Courtesy Ginny on Frederick.

Courtesy Ginny on Frederick.

FP: How did you shape your program in the beginning?

VC: When I opened here in 2011, the artist scene was still very white and male.  Because of my own background, I was always interested in colonial histories and also in different perspectives of class, race, gender. In the West, especially in post-Trump USA, you see a lot of galleries who had zero interest suddenly going, “Oops, I’ve got to fix my program up.” I felt frustrated that the majority of artists being shown were offering the same perspective. 

FP: I was very influenced by the generation of galleries who were about five to ten years older than me, which includes Vanessa at Carlos Ishikawa, Leopold and Angelina at Emalin, and Grace and Nigel at Union Pacific, which were the London galleries that I looked up to when I came out of art school. I feel like there was a gap for a new experimental gallery scene to emerge, which I think has happened with Rose Easton off Herald Street and Isaac with South Parade in Deptford, among others. 

VC: In London the three queens for me are Cornelia Grassi, Maureen Paley and Sadie Coles. They run such different galleries and they’re almost incomparable, but I think that they’re each authentic and thoughtful in the way they do things. I make decisions within the business in a way that ensures experimentation is as uncompromised as possible.  A colleague who has a gallery in New York used to say to me, “I look at your website and I think, how the hell do you stay open?”

Some colleagues who have galleries will say to me, “I really need to take on two painters this year.” I’ve always hated that approach. It is a business, of course, but within that you can work with people genuinely and authentically, you can remain curious and excited, and you can have integrity. 

Some of the painters I show have been very successful in their generation, but it’s worked out from a very un-cynical place, and we started collaborating before they had any real interest from the art market. I’ve never been someone that’s like, “Let’s test out a show to see if it sells first.” I’ve always been more like, “Let’s get married in Vegas.”  

FP: Ginny is still mainly open only by appointment, which means I can pitch the gallery to every single person who walks in, whether they are a student or a huge collector. I still think the tiled walls and the small space of Ginny enable it to cosplay as a project space, so the collectors I have seem to be more on the braver side. 

And, in the same vein as Vanessa, most of the artists who I work with are also friendships of mine because I’m really interested in who they are and what they do. When we have such a close relationship, it can be an encouraging arena for them to make fantastic things, and that ultimately leads to a better experience for everyone. 

"Issy Wood: Trilemma," Carlos/Ishikawa , London, 7 October – 20 November 2021 © Issy Wood 2023, courtesy the artist; Carlos/Ishikawa, London; and Michael Werner, New York. Photo: Stephen James

“Issy Wood: Trilemma,” Carlos/Ishikawa , London, 7 October – 20 November 2021 © Issy Wood 2023, courtesy the artist; Carlos/Ishikawa, London; and Michael Werner, New York. Photo: Stephen James.

VC: I have a very close relationship with many of my artists, and some are like family at this point. For some galleries, their client is the collector. My client is my artist. For me, art is an emotional language before being a visual one. 

I think of my role as gallerist at times as quite pastoral or maternal, but in a loose definition of maternal, meaning providing a safe and nurturing base. I enjoy accompanying the growth of the artists as people, not just the development in their work and careers. I find this particularly fulfilling because I’ve chosen not to be a mother in the traditional sense and I don’t really come from a family. 

This is maybe an overshare but I was diagnosed with cancer when the gallery was only two years old, and the gallery was absolutely vital in getting me through the experience. The gallery is a vehicle for connecting to people and ideas and a set of relationships. For me, it’s like, once you have enough to pay the bills and buy food and feel safe, life is literally too short to be prioritizing anything but intellectual and emotional fulfilment in this strange job we do.

FP: Condo also offered a way for galleries to form new relationships with each other. I think it provided a blueprint for a less competitive scene, which I’m experiencing now. Sadie Coles recently hosted Ginny on Frederick in their shop space for free, and it’s been one of the most generous experiences I’ve had. 

VC: When I started Condo, I was frustrated with the art world as a reflection of the neoliberal world at large, where corporations thrive and independents get killed off.  It was about asking what a different culture for galleries could be, with collaboration and support, rather than competition. 

For me, the idea of galleries being competitive with each other is really absurd as we’re all doing such different things. If we all thrive, we make the whole industry stronger. There’s room and a necessity for all of us within this weird ecosystem. Plus if corporate structured galleries kill off smaller “competitors,” they won’t even have anywhere to cherry pick artists from later.  

It was also based on different ways of exchange and in enabling experimentation with fewer financial constraints, because the danger in that existing overly commercial system is that the art itself can become really bad. I think everyone has to take responsibility for what we are co-creating, including artists, not just fairs and auction houses and galleries.

Courtesy Ginny on Frederick.

Courtesy Ginny on Frederick.

FP: Before we finish, I wanted to ask one more question. If you could have done anything differently, what would that be? 

VC: I think to have better boundaries earlier on, it’s taken me some time to learn. One piece of advice that I think is useful for younger galleries is to remember that what you’re offering to artists is not just a space to show in or just a sale. When I started, my production budget per show was, like, £500. You have to learn to get beyond that insecurity that if you say no to something you can’t afford, that the artist will go elsewhere, and I still have those moments all the time. 

What we are doing is not just providing a showroom with some walls and making some transactions.  A gallery could just do that, I guess some do, but then why didn’t we go and choose some other profession that was much less risky? There is value in what you have to give the artist, and that goes beyond the money. 

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Artists Decry an Idaho College’s ‘Alarming’ Removal of Artworks Centered on Reproductive Rights From a Group Show on Healthcare

School officials removed half a dozen artworks from a show at Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts and History, a public college in Idaho, because of references to abortion and related reproductive health issues. The show, titled “Unconditional Care,” opened just days ago, on March 3, and is intended as an exploration of “today’s biggest health issues and… stories and concerns of those directly impacted by those issues,” according to an earlier show statement on the school’s website.

It examines topics such as chronic illness, disability, pregnancy, sexual assault, and gun violence including related deaths. A mix of local and international artists are featured in the exhibition, many of whom share their personal experiences through film, audio, mixed media, paintings, and photography.

The works that have been removed from the show include a series of four documentary videos from artist Lydia Nobles, in which individual women share diverse experiences around reproductive rights and pregnancy; a 2023 piece by Michelle Hartney, which is a handwritten copy of one of the 250,000 letters addressed to Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, and received in the 1920s mostly from mothers who were begging for information about birth control; and a 2015 embroidery work from artist Katrina Majkut titled Medical Abortion that depicts Mifepristone and Misoprostol, two prescriptions taken together in sequence to end an early pregnancy.

The college did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but in a statement released to other publications, a spokesperson said of the censorship of the show: “After obtaining legal advice, per Idaho Code Section 18-8705, some of the proposed exhibits could not be included in the exhibition.”

Section 18-8705 is part of the No Public Funds for Abortion Act (NPFAA) that was passed by Idaho’s Republican legislature in 2021, months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the right to an abortion.

Majkut is not only a participating artist, but also a guest curator of the show. She told Midnight Publishing Group News that in her 10 years of extensive work with colleges, in particular, she always strives to be bipartisan and objective, while encouraging dialogue and educating viewers. “It’s always been a positive experience. I’ve never heard one peep about discontent. And I’ve never been censored,” she said in a phone interview.

As she and a gallery staffer were developing ideas around the show last fall she was invited to be a curator. “I decided I would do it about the most topical health issues in the United States, as it’s on everyones mind. My goal was to approach these hot topic issues in a very level-headed, factual way,” she said.I was avoiding protest art. I wanted art that got to the heart of the issue either medically or through personal stories, especially by people directly affected by those health issues.”

Medical Abortion (2015), an embroidery by Katrina Majkut was removed from the show titled "Unconditional Care" at the Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts & History, in Idago. Image courtesy Katrina Majkut.

Medical Abortion (2015), an embroidery by Katrina Majkut was removed from the show titled “Unconditional Care” at the Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts & History, in Idago. Image courtesy Katrina Majkut.

Majkut said her work was removed on March 2, a day before the exhibition opened and after giving administrators a tour of the entire show. When informed of their decision to remove the work, Majkut suggested several alternatives including “some sort of presence, even if it just [a statement that reads] ‘this artwork was removed in accordance with the law.’ I said that I wanted the wall text up even if I can’t have the artwork because it literally reiterates Idaho’s own law to the students. That was a no-go. It’s an educational setting, but I was told directly in person that the wall text wasn’t okay.” Majkut said she has dozens of other artworks that remain in the show.

Meanwhile, representatives from the ACLU penned a detailed letter to college president Cynthia Pemberton objecting to the removal of Nobles’s works and asking that they be reinstated.

The letter is signed by Elizabeth Larison, director of the arts and culture advocacy program of the National Coalition Against Censorship; by Scarlet Kim, senior staff attorney for speech, privacy and technology project of the ACLU, and Leo Morales, executive director of the ACLU of Idaho.

Stills from Lydia Noble's documentary series “As I Sit Waiting,” that were removed from the show 'Unconditional Care' at Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts & History in Idaho. Image courtesy Lydia Noble.

Stills from Lydia Nobles’s documentary series “As I Sit Waiting,” which was removed from the show “Unconditional Care” at Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts & History in Idaho. Image courtesy Lydia Nobles.

They expressed “alarm” at the removal of Nobles’s videos.

“The College’s interpretation of the NPFAA—that it applies to works of art depicting the discussion of abortion—demonstrates the potential abuses of the Act,” the letter read. “As the Supreme Court recognized 80 years ago, ‘[i]f there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion…’ The College’s decision threatens this bedrock First Amendment principle by censoring Nobles’s important work and denying visitors of the center the opportunity to view, consider, and discuss it.”

“Institutions of higher education are responsible for presenting students with an array of viewpoints and fostering among them a sense of academic curiosity and intellectual engagement,” it continued. “We urge the College to reconsider this censorship and permit these works to be shown as part of ‘Unconditional Care.’”

Additionally, Kirsten Shahverdian, senior manager of free expression and education at PEN America, has likewise condemned the decision as “a slap in the face to academic and artistic freedom.” In a statement, she added: “Banning these artworks signals to people—especially women—that they must silence themselves and their experiences when it comes to any aspect of reproductive or sexual health, stripping them of their fundamental rights to free expression.”

Nobles said after Majkut invited her to exhibit work from her series, “As I Sit Waiting,” they worked together between mid December 2022 and January 2023 to select four accounts that share diverse experiences around reproductive rights and pregnancy.

“The selected documentaries are that of DeZ’ah, Blair, Cat, and Claudia,” said Nobles. “The gallerist and I were working together to figure out installation, and they even painted the wall a light purple to coincide with my ideal installation. All seemed to being going well—that is, until I received an email from the school.”

According to Nobles, the email stated: “Upon review of submitted work for the upcoming Center for Arts and History exhibit ‘Unconditional Care,’ after consulting with legal counsel and based on current Idaho Law (Idaho Code 18-8705), your proposed exhibit cannot be included.”

Nobles said she asked for further clarification about what exactly in her documentaries violated the law, but she did not receive a response.

“It was also alarming that the language in the email shifted, suggesting that these were just proposed works, when in fact they were installed already; besides slight remaining details,” she said. “The email from the school was particularly odd because I went to great efforts to frame these films as unbiased as I could. I didn’t want to know too much about the participant’s story beforehand. I also wanted the interviews to be memory-based and without an agenda. So to hear that the school thinks that these stories are violating this law, I was pretty confused.”

Artwork by Michelle Hartney that was removed from "Unconditional Care" at Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts & History, in Idaho. Image courtesy Michelle Hartney.

Artwork by Michelle Hartney that was removed from “Unconditional Care” at Lewis-Clark State College Center for Arts & History, in Idaho. Image courtesy Michelle Hartney.

“The censorship of my piece is extra alarming because it comes from a letter that was written 100 years ago by a desperate mom,” Hartney told Midnight Publishing Group News of the removal her letter-based work.

“I feel compelled, through this project, to make sure the stories and pleas from these mothers from the past are not forgotten, so folks can see where we were 100 years ago when there was no access to birth control, and so they can read firsthand accounts from over 250,000 people, what happens to a person when their right to control their own destiny is taken away.”


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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Artists Grapple With the Meaning of Motherhood in a New York Gallery Show. Here’s What They Say Inspired Their Work

The questions of motherhood—whether to do it, how, when—is a major part of the female experience, and comes with enormous pressures related to the biological clock and societal expectations.

At New York’s Trotter and Sholer gallery, the varied ways that women artists respond to this question is the subject of its current group show, “A Suitable Accomplishment.”

The title is taken from the groundbreaking 1971 Linda Nochlin essay, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?,” which examined the social constructs that have kept women artists from receiving the same recognition as that of their male counterparts. (Spoiler alert: the demands of motherhood have sabotaged many a promising career.)

And though the essay is more than 50 years old, it speaks to issues women still face in the year 2023.

"A Suitable Accomplishment" on view at Trotter and Sholer. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer.

“A Suitable Accomplishment” on view at Trotter and Sholer. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer.

“I’m not sure that we’ve progressed as far as we like to think we have,” gallery cofounder Jenna Ferrey told Midnight Publishing Group News. “And we definitely haven’t gone as far as we need to go!”

Ferrey focused the show on a small group of women artists whose differing experiences of motherhood painted a wide picture of the subject.

Barbara Ishikura, Jen (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Barbara Ishikura, Jen (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

For some artists, motherhood is a creative inspiration, as with Fernanda’s Feher’s watercolors, which were “art directed” by her two-year-old, who asks her to incorporate elements like toys, ice cream, and cupcakes into her delicate paintings.

Others reference multiple generations of women. One of Jessica Frances Grégoire Lancaster’s finely detailed paintings on glass is based on a drawing by her grandmother, with her mother’s reflection subtly included in the work to tie the three women together.

Bahar Behbahani, <em>Untitled (Immigrant Flora)</em> 2018. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Bahar Behbahani, Untitled (Immigrant Flora) 2018. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

There’s even a mother-daughter duo, Shamsy Behbahani and Bahar Behbahani, whose works appear in the show.

“They created individual works, but they are in conversation with each other,” Ferrey said. “Bahar’s mother created a large hanging installation piece out of silver and copper thread which is hung so the light casts a shadow from Shamsy’s piece onto Bahar’s piece.”

Bahar Behbahani and Shamsy Behbahani, All the Sea for You All the Pain for Me (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

The 13 featured artists in the show include both mothers and women who have decided not to have children of their own, as well as women who haven’t decided one way or another—a question that Ferrey, who has decided she does not want to have children, has grappled with herself.

“Its something that’s been on my mind lately, and it comes up in conversations with friends, both those who have children and those who are choosing not to,” Ferrey said. “But there’s social pressure no matter which position you take. And this is a conversation that almost probably every single woman could contribute something to.”

See what some of the women in the show had to say in their artist statements about the question of motherhood and how it relates to their work.


Fernanda Feher

Fernanda Feher, <em>Lilyland</em> (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Fernanda Feher, Lilyland (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“As an artist, who is a single parent most of the time, I find it challenging not being able to go work whenever inspiration comes, and it is difficult for inspiration to come when having no alone time, having to do so many things at the same time and carrying so much responsibility by myself,” Fernanda Feher said. The artist credited her “infantile universe of imagination,” saying, “I can easily join my child in her fantasy to play and welcome her into creating worlds with me such as the ones we painted and drew together for this exhibition.”


Isabelle Higgins

Isabelle Higgins, <em>A Feast</em> (2021). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Isabelle Higgins, A Feast (2021). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“Our culture does not support mothers or artists enough and this is something that comes to the forefront of my mind while weighing the option of taking on the role of motherhood,” Isabelle Higgins said. “So for now, I am content with mothering my artistic works through care, time, and dedication.”


Barbara Ishikura

Barbara Ishikura, <em>Holding Sho on Swing</em> (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Barbara Ishikura, Holding Sho on Swing (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“When I gave birth to my children in the late 1980s, there was very little support for new mothers experiencing the demands of shifting cultural roles around career and childcare,” Barbara Ishikura said. “In my painting Holding Sho on Swing, I try to visualize the feelings of isolation that many young mothers experienced at that time. Looking at young women today, I see their vulnerability, but I also witness a level of confidence that was unfamiliar to me.”

Alex McQuilkin

Alex McQuilkin, <em>Untitled (Blind Man’s Bluff)</em>, 2019. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Alex McQuilkin, Untitled (Blind Man’s Bluff), 2019. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“Prior to having children, that idea of self, though far from uncomplicated, could be approached in a conceptual way. Since becoming a mother, even the fantasy of a singular self is out of the question,” Alex McQuilkin said. “After having my children, I began to layer archival fragments of historical wall coverings in a claustrophobically shallow trompe l’oeil space on top of repeat patterns. The specificity of these material objects with their cracks, wrinkles, and imperfections, complicates the façade of neutrality in the repeat patterns and disrupts their grid-like ability to run rampant below the surface.”

Jessica Frances Grégoire Lancaster

Jessica Frances Grégoire Lancaster, <em>Trois gestes (Three Gestures)</em> 2022. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Jessica Frances Grégoire Lancaster, Trois gestes (Three Gestures) 2022. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“Outside of this trio’ed collaboration, the women who precede me possess their own creative practices to sustain a fruitful life,” Jessica Frances Grégoire Lancaster said. “The act of making for us is as ordinary as drying dishes. My grandmother supplemented her husband’s income by selling her fiber arts, woven on her basement looms in order to dress her children. My mom fills her days with quilting after retiring from a career in cancer research, having fought to be considered both a scientist and mother. And I, after losing a child, have enveloped myself in painting.”


Anna Marie Tendler

Anna Marie Tendler, <em>Good Mourning</em> (2021). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Anna Marie Tendler, Good Mourning (2021). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“I do not particularly want children, yet at 36 I froze my eggs for fear I might change my mind,” photographer Anna Marie Tendler, who divorced her husband in 2021, said. “At first glance, my two works may appear to tell the story of a woman longing for motherhood, but I urge the viewer to consider the patriarchal conditioning that leads to this interpretation. Why does a woman clad in black and positioned in a room of empty twin beds signal loss? Why are we quick to assume she is sad? Perhaps she is Lilith, first wife of Adam, who in refusing to submit to her husband, left the Garden of Eden to become the figure of primal rage, stealing men’s sperm and devouring their babies in the dark of the night.”


Shantel Miller

Shantel Miller, <em>Sherri and Sheryl</em> (2018). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Shantel Miller, Sherri and Sheryl (2018). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“These pieces are a labor of love for Black mothers in my life and for those who were not able to pro- vide love in the ways needed,” Shantel Miller said.


Azzah Sultan

Azzah Sultan, <em>The Sewing Kit</em> (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Azzah Sultan, The Sewing Kit (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“Although we may grow up with our mothers, we never truly know their past and who they were before motherhood. These are conversations that are difficult to have with older generations, and I wish to explore it through a memory box,” Azzah Sultan said. “Here the biscuit tin has been reappropriated. Inside are pieces of fabric that hold personal stories. My mother starts to unveil a few but still keep some for herself.”


Chellis Baird

Chellis Baird, <em>Hope</em>. Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Chellis Baird, Hope (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“Artists, like mothers, also wear many hats, often functioning as both assistant and boss,” Chellis Baird said. “The process of creation is often a juggle of several of these roles, with moments, sometimes unexpectedly, of absolute joy. Both job descriptions include the need for patience, love, and problem solving, with the witnessing of growth acting as a constant motivator and source of reward.”


Marika Thunder

Marika Thunder, <em>Hungarian Woodshop</em> (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Marika Thunder, Hungarian Woodshop (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“My mother is Hungarian and an artist herself. She didn’t allow her budding career and the inevitable challenges that came with raising a daughter to prevent her from achieving her dream. I’ll always admire her strength and courage to follow her own intuition,” Marika Thunder said. “The intuition of a mother, and intense psychic bond with the daughter always felt sacred to me. Though I am not a mother to a child, I feel very motherly toward each painting I make since they are objects that I’ve materialized from the ineffable parts of my lived experiences.”


Lydia Baker

Lydia Baker, <em>Birth of an Idea</em> (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

Lydia Baker, Birth of an Idea (2022). Photo courtesy of Trotter and Sholer, New York.

“I’m interested in the psychological aspects of having an internal calendar—ovulation in particular, as it signifies letting go, an end, or potentially a beginning. My physical and mental experience with ovulation changes each year, and now in my early 30s, it’s become more pronounced,” Lydia Baker said. “As someone who adores children and doesn’t have them, it’s been interesting seeing my maternal energy announce itself in the studio.”

A Suitable Accomplishment” is on view at Trotter and Sholer, 168 Suffolk Street, New York, New York, January 14–February 18, 2023.

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