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



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. 

According to my sources, what led Doig to break free was not the opportunity to work with Hage but rather a series of financial slights inflicted by the gallery that he felt constituted breaches of their relationship—spurring him to do a major revenge exhibition at the Courtauld this month, and keep Michael Werner completely out of the picture.
It all started during the pandemic. Like most galleries, Michael Werner was finding ways to belt-tighten, and in the summer of 2020, the London office, which is run by gallery partner Gordon VeneKlasen, booted Doig out of a studio in London that the gallery had been paying for. So that’s one hit, but perhaps from Doig’s perspective (and I was unable to personally get in touch with the artist), a reasonable one, as most everyone was preparing for the worst during that time, and according to the gallery, the lease was up.

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: Email your response to [email protected]


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