Larry Gagosian Thought the ‘Cruel and Offensive’ E-mail Was ‘Cruel,’ but Also ‘Amusing’

The work in question, Roy Lichtenstein's 'Girl in Mirror.' (Courtesy Christie's)

Earlier today David Baum, a lawyer representing plaintiff Jan Cowles in her ongoing lawsuit against Larry Gagosian and his gallery, filed papers that seek to unearth Mr. Gagosian’s financial records and includes Mr. Gagosian’s complete deposition in the case, which took place a few weeks ago. It offers a fascinating look at the dealer’s business model. In it, Mr. Gagosian describes Gagosian Gallery director Deborah McLeod’s now infamous solicitation for a “cruel and offensive” offer from collector Thompson Dean for a 1964 Roy Lichtenstein work as amusing, though he wishes it hadn’t been in writing. You’ll find the entire deposition at the end of this post. Read More


Gagosian’s Gallery at Le Bourget Airport Is Not Duty-Free

Gagosian. (Courtesy Patrick McMullan)

A week before the opening of Gagosian’s latest space in his gallery chain, a 17,760-square-foot gallery in northern Paris at the Le Bourget airport, the art dealer talks to The Wall Street Journal‘s Kelly Crow about the mood in the market, how he caters to different tastes at his 12 galleries around the world, the “home run” at the ArtRio fair and the difference between art and luxury goods. Read More


Behind the Mask: Mark Grotjahn Lifts the Veil on His Secret Sculptures

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grotjahn feature

Mark Grotjahn, an artist best known for his laborious and intricate paintings, is something of a hoarder. Anyone who visits his Los Angeles studio comes back gushing about the strange cardboard masks that litter the space. He started making them 10 years ago, around the time he began the series of abstract paintings that launched his career: his so-called butterfly series, which consist of detailed rays of color bursting from various vanishing points. He would only paint the butterflies in natural light, so he worked in 12-hour bursts, but when the sun went down, he wanted to keep going. He started saving cardboard boxes—including the 12-packs left over from his wedding—and toilet paper rolls, fashioning them into masks with vaguely phallic noses (the toilet paper rolls) and eerily blank, jack-o’-lantern expressions. They are both primal and juvenile; a lot of artists have made masks, Mr. Grotjahn says, but, he hastens to add, so have a lot of kids. Read More


Supersize Chelsea!: In New York’s Main Art District, It’s Go Big or Go Home


“Be careful where you step,” shouted Maureen Bray over a percussion of power tools as she maneuvered past the electricians, sheetrockers and HVAC crew members who have two months to transform a 22,000-square-foot construction zone into the new home of Sean Kelly Gallery, which is about to triple in size. “Obviously this giant hole won’t be here,” said Ms. Bray, a director at the gallery, pointing to what will become a stairwell leading to a black-box theater—just one of three exhibition spaces, alongside expanded offices, a “canyon”-sized library and two private viewing rooms (“back where those toilets are now”).

In the early 1990s, most real-estate-seeking New Yorkers overlooked the gray smudge on Manhattan’s West Side known as Chelsea, then still a wasteland of deserted freight tracks, turpentine fumes and auto-body garages. But for the throngs of art galleries being swiftly priced out of Soho by fashion boutiques and Dean & Delucas, it offered cavernous, column-free architecture at bargain-basement prices.

Matthew Marks pioneered the migration on an abandoned stretch of West 22nd Street. Soon after, Barbara Gladstone, Metro Pictures, Sean Kelly and hundreds of other galleries followed, and a “new Soho” was born in Chelsea.

Twenty years, two Gagosian Galleries and a Comme des Garçons later, Chelsea art dealers are fretting that the legacy of Soho has come back to haunt them. About a third of the neighborhood’s galleries have been shuttered in the last five years as High Line-inflated real estate prices and an influx of deep-pocketed fashion and design firms have forced out many of the smaller dealers. At its height, Chelsea was home to more than 350 galleries; today only 204 remain, according to Rice & Associates real estate adviser Earl Bateman.

But it would be premature to pronounce the world’s premier gallery district dead. Read More


Gagosian Plans Rio de Janeiro Outpost During ArtRio Fair in September

Rio. (Courtesy Ivan Herman/Flickr)

We’ve run out of ledes for articles about Gagosian expanding around the world so we’ll just get right to the news: Gagosian plans to stage a “major sculpture exhibition in a warehouse in Rio de Janeiro as part of the ArtRio fair,” according to New York Times reporter Carol Vogel. The fair runs Sept. 12 to 16 this year, and Ms. Vogel notes that Gagosian will have a booth at the fair as well. (As she points out, it’s a sensible play by Larry Gagosian: Brazil’s art market has exploded in recent years, along with its broader economy.) Read More


Adam Sender’s Huge Bruce Nauman Fountain to Go on View at Gagosian

Partial installation view of 'One Hundred Fish Fountain' (2005) at Donald Young Gallery. (Courtesy the artist and Donald Young Gallery)

Like most contemporary art galleries, the Gagosian Gallery’s international branches tend to go quiet by the end of July, closing to the public or keeping on view a show that opened much earlier in the season. This year, though, Gagosian’s flagship spot at 980 Madison will open two month-long shows on July 30, each presenting one major artwork, Robert Ryman’s A Painting in Four Parts and Bruce Nauman’s One Hundred Fish Fountain. Read More


Snap Judgments: Photography Exhibitions Not to Miss

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Richard Avedon, Abbie Hoffman, Yippie, New York, September 11, 1968, 1968

IN TERMS OF SHEER SIZE AND SEX APPEAL, Gagosian Gallery’s mammoth Richard Avedon show is easily the photography event of the summer. Installed in a flashy layout by architect and in-demand exhibition designer David Adjaye, it’s headlined by four huge group portraits. The one of Andy Warhol and his entourage is more than 30 feet long and 10 feet tall, and is pretty much guaranteed to stop you dead in your tracks. Read More


The One That Got Away: ‘Picasso and Françoise Gilot: Paris-Vallauris, 1943–1953’ at Gagosian and Frank Stella at L&M Arts

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Pablo Picasso, La Femme au fauteil, 1948. (Courtesy Gagosian

PABLO PICASSO WAS 61 when he met Françoise Gilot, a pretty 23-year-old art student, in a Parisian café in 1943. That he seduced her surprised no one; that she eventually left him was, given his successes with women, pretty shocking, and became the subject of several books and films. Artworks originating during and depicting their decade-long relationship are now on display at Gagosian Gallery, where they constitute the fourth Picasso exhibition there curated by the artist’s biographer John Richardson. This period of Picasso’s production isn’t as inspired as his early collage, as eccentric as his late imaginary portraits (the subject of Gagosian’s 2009 show “Picasso: Mosqueteros”), or as inventive as the passionate painting in last spring’s “Picasso and Marie-Thérèse: L’amour fou.” Instead, the pottery, paintings, lithographs and sculptures, shown alongside a room of paintings by the young Ms. Gilot—who curated the exhibition in tandem with Mr. Richardson—are placidly domestic. The two artists often worked from the same subject: their family life in the south of France and, especially, their young children, Claude and Paloma. Read More