A VIBE CHECK ON HENRY STREET
Just under a year ago, I reported on the cluster of galleries in Chinatown on Henry Street, which emerged in large part during the pandemic, when rental prices were at an all-time low and free time for passion projects was at an all-time high. During my interviews back then, there was an underlying sense of uncertainty, since the cost of living in New York City was gradually returning to status quo. Everyone wondered how long the favorable conditions would last.
Since the publication of that piece, of course, the economy has taken a downturn. However, the art market has always been somewhat of an exception. I personally have whiplash from witnessing a tepid auction season, only to be followed by a knockout edition of Art Basel, where financial woes were left behind in America as a multimillion dollar works by Picasso, Bourgeois, and Baselitz sold with ease.
So where does that leave my dear friends down on Henry Street? Inquiring minds wanted to know, so I checked in this week to hear how business is going for the scrappy young entrepreneurs.
“It’s slower now than it has been for the past two years,” shared Ellie Rines, the longtime resident of Henry Street and driving force behind 56 Henry, which expanded to two spaces last year. “I’ve noticed a slowdown particularly among private dealers who are also collectors. They’re not as active because they’re not making as many sales. It’s a trickle-down effect.”
Nevertheless, Rines isn’t overly concerned about the state of the market, joking she was so confident Karma‘s Jonas Wood drawings show would sell out that she plans to follow up with its owner, Brendan Dugan, about buying some of her art. Apart from the impact of art professionals tightening their budgets, she attributed the decline in sales to the typical summer lull. “It’s quiet down here because of people’s European travel budget,” she cracked. “They’ll buy that instead of a painting.”
Down the street at Situations, I caught their owner Jackie Kemplay taking a smoking break. “People have been grumbling, but I’m not really worried,” she said. “We just finished our show with Faye Wei Wei, which pretty much sold out. I feel like the art market is such a bubble anyways, it’s hard to know what’s going to affect you.” When I asked how concerned she was about her gallery’s current financial situation, she confidently replied, “Zero.”
Meanwhile, Will Leung is a bit more anxious about the current climate. Leung runs four spaces: Long Story Short and ATM Gallery on Henry Street and two other Long Story Short outposts in Los Angeles and Paris. “It’s working out okay, but I’m definitely feeling it across all of my galleries,” he said.
From Leung’s perspective, the slowdown is at least partially coming from the collector class, which doesn’t want to pay top dollar for emerging artwork anymore. “Now collectors are backing up and saying, ‘Why is this happening?’” he said, adding that he emphatically is not a dealer interested in pumping the prices of younger artists. “I mean, I’m a young gallery and I only sell young works. I’m the last guy to tell the artist, “Oh, we should raise the price. I just sell the paintings and move on.”
Leung also noted that the current global climate for commodities is lean, and the art world is not immune to macro economic effects. “It’s not just about art, it’s everything. People are scared. Food prices are high, and living expenses have gone up so high. Like, a lunch that used to cost $6 now costs $15, so people are wondering, “Should I be saving some money?” It’s survival mode.”
However, he expressed optimism and downplayed the severity of the situation, stating, “I don’t think we’ll witness gallery closures on this street. It may take a few months, but eventually, people will realize this is a temporary situation. What goes up must come down.”
LINDEMANN LEANS OUT OF MONTAUK
For my friends in the art world who have relocated to the Hamptons this summer, I have a couple of questions. First: hey, is it cool if I come crash in your guest house for a bit? And second, have you seen Adam Lindemann around there this season?
Sources in the area suggest that the art collector and dealer, whose family’s net worth is estimated in the billions, has left Montauk. While Lindemann owns multiple properties in the area, Wet Paint has learned he’s turned over the keys to two, for the time being at least.
Eothen, the “ranch” (I use quotes because it’s actually a 12-bedroom compound with no livestock) that Lindemann acquired, is discreetly listed on the upscale Hamptons-specific real estate website Out East, available for a short-term sublet at a price of $350,000.
The listing on the site doesn’t explicitly mention that this is Lindemann’s estate, which is historically significant for once belonging to Andy Warhol. However, comparing the listing’s photos strongly suggests that it is the same property the dealer attempted to sell in the summer of 2020 for $65 million, without success. Instead, the listing portrays the oceanfront retreat as a place where “sand meets surf, coast connects to meadow, earth and wave converge, and sea and sky intertwine, beckoning you to just unwind.” Quite poetic, isn’t it?
A few miles southbound on Montauk Highway is the South Etna Montauk Foundation, an exhibition space co-run by Lindemann and his wife, fellow dealer Amalia Dayan. Or at least, it used to be. According to Google, the space has been labeled as “permanently closed,” and a tipster revealed that an Australian clothing store called Venroy now occupies the premises. I contacted Lindemann to inquire about the situation, and while he vehemently denied the foundation was closed, he said the foundation was relocating due to difficulties in operating throughout the summer. “It was hard for me to open all summer, no one wanted to sit there!” he explained.
I’ll keep my ears to the ground about where the foundation lands and keep you all posted. Meanwhile, if you decide to take that sublet, please let me know. Perhaps you could lend one of the three guest houses on the property to your favorite gossip columnist, and I can delve into some reporting.
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Mina Stone’s tenure at MoMA PS1’s restaurant is coming to a close, but my Pavlovian craving for her spanakopita everytime I cross over into Long Island City will live forever… Bernardo Mosqueira has been named the new chief curator for the Institute for Studies on Latin American Art… Did you make it out to the Beyeler Foundation during Art Basel this month? According to sources, the museum rents the charming cows roaming the premises for the week to make the scene pastoral… Micki Meng is opening a “pied-à-terre” in the East Village in the next few months, which will double as a space for her to host art-inspired dinner parties… Jack Eisenberg has left the office of Amy Cappelazzo’s Art Intelligence Global to become a director at Matthew Brown… Beloved art world watering hole Sant Ambroseus is opening up a location in Aspen and should be in full function for Art Crush later this summer… Amuseum in Munich has officially closed, following drama over their Shepard Fairey solo show late last year… Cielo Félix-Hernández’s piece Ácido Sabor has been acquired by El Museo del Barrio…
Juliette Lewis is absolutely over the moon about her piece by David Benjamin Sherry *** Tracey Emin was among the guests at Jay Jopling’s birthday party on the French Riviera at Anselm Kiefer’s estate, where Paloma Faith performed shoeless on a tabletop *** Evan Mock tried his hand at curating for a charity show to benefit Public Art Fund, featuring work by Gray Sorrenti, Mario Sorrenti, Mark Gonzales, and Manon Macaset, among others *** Jenna Lyons would like you to know that is a Cy Twombly drawing, certainly not a poster, per a New York Times correction *** James Franco was among the procession to Jeff Koons’s gleaming installation in Hydra last week *** There was a miniature Pussy Posse reunion at Karma’s opening of drawings by Jonas Wood, where Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire were milling around in their requisite pulled-down baseball caps (they didn’t come to the afterparty at Indochine, but Stanley Whitney, Max Hollein, and Chloë Sevigny did) *** Colin Jost and Marcello Hernández looking real cool at the Menil Collection ***
— The Menil Collection (@MenilCollection) June 15, 2023