Steve Wynn’s Rothko That Never Sells, N. Dash Becomes the Third Artist in Three Years to Leave Casey Kaplan, and More Juicy Art World Gossip

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THE GREAT TRAVELING ROTHKO

One of the best things about working in fine art is getting to see all of my fine art friends all over the world during the yearly programming of fairs, openings, and auctions. I can meet you for the first time while I’m covering a sale at Sotheby’s, then say hello to you in the aisles of Art Basel Miami Beach, then get to see you again overseas at the namesake fair in Switzerland, and then, hey, who knows? Maybe we’ll even get to see each other again at an evening sale at Christie’s in New York! 

Oh wait, I’m not describing one of my friendly acquaintances. I’m describing a painting by Mark Rothko! Silly me. 

This week, Christie’s announced that Untitled (Yellow, Orange, Yellow, Light Orange), a fiery tableaux by one of the godfathers of modernist abstraction, would lead their marquee 20th Century Evening Sale next month on November 9th. The piece is slated to sell “in the region of $45 million” (you know it’s an expensive work when a range isn’t provided for the estimate), and Alex Rotter, the house’s chairman of 20th and 21st century art, provided some flowery language about the piece: “The painting we are offering is a best-in-class example, it is all-encompassing, radiating with an indescribable heat and intensity.” 

It’s true, it’s a beautiful work of art. But you know what else has indescribable heat and intensity? A fire sale from casino magnate Steve Wynn (who, coincidentally, just listed his home in Lake Tahoe last week for a cool $76 million). That’s who currently owns the piece, and as my colleague Katya Kazakina revealed earlier this summer, it was the most expensive work for sale at this year’s Art Basel in Switzerland, priced by Acquavella at $60 million. The gallery confirmed that it failed to sell. 

Prior to that, the piece had been on a global tour of the art market for a few years, first making an appearance in 2014 at Sotheby’s, when it was sold to the Nahmad family for $36.6 million, who then brought it to Miami in 2018, where Wynn bought it for $50 million

If the piece realizes its $45 million estimate next month, I’m sure it’ll be a relief not only to Mr. Wynn, who would only be clocking a mere $5 million loss (the fact that I just said that made me take a long, hard look in the mirror, rest assured). The house confirmed that there is a guarantee on the lot, so he’ll be walking away with at least something. 

N. DASH AWAY ALL 

Install of N. Dash’s new exhibit at SITE Santa Fe, “and Water”. Photo by Brad Trone.

According to my spies out in the vast deserts of New Mexico (Wet Paint has eyes everywhere!) there’s been trouble brewing out West, flying right under our noses as many in the art world set their sites on the European capitals for the upcoming slate of fairs. Let me paint you a picture. The kind that’s not for sale. 

While the minimalist painter N. Dash was out in Santa Fe, installing her new show at SITE Santa Fe alongside curator Louis Grachos, an old Western-style standoff went down between the artist and her gallery, Casey Kaplan, resulting in the artist leaving their roster. 

“We had a great number of years working together and I wish the gallery all the best,” Dash said in an emailed statement once the dust settled. The artist doesn’t have another gallery lined up, she is “looking forward to new endeavors.” 

Veronica Levitt, a director at the gallery, confirmed the news to Wet Paint, stating simply, “After 9 years of working together, we have decided to part ways. Dash is a terrific artist and we’ve achieved a great deal together. We wish her nothing but the best in the future.” 

It’s possible that I’m exaggerating the this-town-ain’t-big-enough-for-the-two-of-us tone here for dramatic effect, both the artist and the gallery were diplomatic in my request for context or comment. However, it’s worth noting that Dash is the female artist to leave Casey Kaplan in the last two years, as Sarah Crowner had her last show at the gallery in 2021, and Haris Epaminonda left in 2022.

WE HEAR 

 

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Jack Pierson has officially opened his storefront on Henry Street in the former Public Access space, called Elliott Templeton Fine ArtsVideo art superstar Ryan Trecartin has left Regen Projects for Moràn Moràn… People sure seem to be getting nervous about the bedbugs situation in Paris during Paris Plus—Wet Paint knows of at least one art advisor who decided not to go anymore because of the infestationKasmin has tapped photographer Charlie Rubin as their new manager of photography and mediaKatherine Steiner was given the esteemed title of Registrar of the YearLisa Schiff‘s private library is apparently up for sale, and among some of its more compelling titles include five books on Adrian Ghenie (the artist whose work that Schiff bought for a client and then…lost track of the money after flipping it, allegedly), 31 books written Ed Ruscha, a whopping 37 books dedicated to the practice of Richard Prince, and another 37 “Catalogues de Traveux” by Jean Dubuffet… 

 

SPOTTED 

Cindy Sherman, Chase Hall, Charles Gaines, and Glenn Ligon at the opening of Henry Taylor’s new show at The Whitney *** Anthony Kiedis doing a gallery crawl through Chinatown with Louis Shannon (Hey, that was my idea!) *** The party of the Fall thus far seems to be Jacolby Satterwhite’s opening at The Met, where Cynthia Rowley, Klaus Biesenbach, Carlos Motta, and Quil Lemons danced to a set by Moses Sumney, and eventually ended up late night at Frankie’s Pub *** Those who didn’t make it to that were likely at Dia’s fall gala, Takashi Murakami, Adrien Brody, Anicka Yi, Legacy Russell, and Adam Pendleton among them ***

 

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