• Hollywood Babylon

    David Zwirner goes West

    LAST TUESDAY NIGHT, the LA art world converged on Western Avenue—just south of Melrose among a strip of futon stores, smoke shops, and gas stations—to witness the unveiling of David Zwirner’s new outpost. The block was mobbed as I arrived with the artist Larry Johnson. “Oh my god,” he whimpered with incredulity. “This is where it is? I spent my whole life on Western Avenue . . .”

    Located at the conflux of Hollywood (a few blocks from the Paramount Lot) and Koreatown, this stretch of Western was once a hotbed for seedy gay bars (Larry favored the Black Lite) and still is for sex work (it’s not

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  • Tru Believers

    Aram Moshayedi at the RenBen 2023

    I CONVINCED MYSELF that writing this was an opportunity to channel my inner Rhonda Lieberman—if only that were possible. Last week in Chicago, as I made my way through the early moments of the Renaissance Society’s 2023 “RenBen: TRU RENAISSANCE”—an annual fundraising affair masterminded by the storied institution’s chief curator and director, Myriam Ben Salah, and creative-directed this year by artist and choreographer Adam Linder—I sought out a scandal, but found none; I yearned for juicy gossip, but couldn’t manage to dig it up. I tried to provoke artist Piero Golia, who was in attendance as

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  • No Agency

    Hiji Nam on Frieze week in New York

    LAST THURSDAY AFTERNOON, I waded through the throngs of tourists around the Vessel to meet my friend Anya Komar at the Shed for Frieze. Komar, formerly a long-time director and gallery partner of Miguel Abreu (she now runs Ulrik, in Chelsea), remembered how the fair at Randall’s Island always seemed on the brink of collapse—leaky ceilings, sweat, and broken ACs that transformed showrooms into saunas. No such discharge or human frailty at Hudson Yards; although the name of Frieze’s newish location suggests a messy outbuilding to store unused toys or dusty childhood trophies (OK, maybe not such

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  • Price of Entry

    Hiji Nam around Manhattan

    LAST FRIDAY AFTERNOON at David Zwirner, Benjamin Buchloh was heralding Gerhard Richter as the painter-inheritor of twentieth-century History. Then he added: “Will his paintings have lasting reverberations like the urinal? Probably not.” An ambivalent aperitif of a speech to kick off the evening. Later that night, around the corner at Petzel, Seth Price unveiled his large-scale paintings impeccably mixing 3-D graphics, abstraction, and AI-generated representation, in his first New York solo show in five years, only the second time in nearly a decade he’s exhibited new work. They looked small in

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  • Dendur Is the Night

    A K-Pop idol takes the Met

    ON WEDNESDAY EVENING, the guards of Metropolitan Museum of Art wore orange to mark the museum’s yearlong partnership with Sulwhasoo, a Korean heritage beauty brand currently rolling out their amber-themed, Tilda Swinton–starring “I am Ginseng” campaign. Korakrit Arunanondchai appropriately wore a copper-toned, rhinestoned velour tracksuit, while artist Diane Severin Nguyen, Paris Review editor Olivia Kan-Sperling, and I had opted for black silk and ruffles with a dash of pink lip gloss, in honor of Sulwhasoo’s international ambassador Rosé, the mononymous star of BLACKPINK, the megawattage K-pop

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  • Fast Company

    Gracie Hadland around Frieze LA

    LAST SUNDAY NIGHT, the eve of Frieze Week in Los Angeles, people spilled out of the gallery Gattopardo into a strip mall parking lot for a reading celebrating a new collection of writings by Giovanni Intra, published by Semiotext(e). The late artist and writer was one of the founders of the gallery China Art Objects, which in the late ’90s was crucial in putting LA back on the art-world map. He died at the age of thirty-four of an overdose and a certain scene dissolved with him. Those in attendance, some who had slept with him, done drugs with him, or worked for him, hadn’t gathered in a while.

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  • Naked and Famous

    Hiji Nam around downtown Manhattan

    THE SWISS INSTITUTE opening for Ser Serpas and Alfatih took place one day after January 24, which a friend told me had officially been declared the most depressing day of the year. I shared this with gallerist Maxwell Graham, who immediately brightened up. “That makes so much sense!” he beamed. I had the same reaction. After weeks of January melancholia, I felt a fever break last Wednesday. Others seemed to feel it too: Despite a torrential downpour, the Swiss Institute was packed—a reassuring affirmation that we do live in bodies, after all, and that these bodies live in a social body with a

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  • Office Politics

    A California state senator mounts an exhibition affirming trans lives

    WHEN LESBIAN AUTHOR and educator Diana Cage asked me if I’d like to accompany her to the opening of a “trans art show” at the offices of California State Senator Scott Wiener, I jumped at the chance. I have a soft spot for art presented outside the sanctioned white cubes of museums and galleries, but an official government site comes with its own baggage, its own set of priorities and prohibitions that an exhibit would have to grapple with. Diana and I had no clue what we were going to find, and that made the evening feel like an adventure.

    Presented on the occasion of Trans Awareness Week, “

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  • Never Enough

    Kaitlin Phillips around the 20th Art Basel Miami Beach

    LARRY GAGOSIAN DIDN’T FLY DOWN for the twentieth anniversary of Art Basel Miami Beach. This was described to me by Vanity Fair’s art reporter Nate Freeman as “gossip.” And perhaps, were I an art reporter, it would strike me as such.

    At a cocktail party for the gallery, Derek Blasberg—Gagosian employee and career walker to underweight celebrities—was in his element, padding around Karlie Kloss’s twenty-three-million-dollar mansion barefoot. He joked about accidentally picking up plantar warts from the floor. “Europeans say it in a sexier way: verruca.” (Whether this is suspicious or not, I shan’t

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  • Max’s Hammer

    The banal spectacle of buying a Beckmann

    IT TOOK TWO MINUTES and forty-eight seconds to settle on twenty million euros as the hammer price of the most expensive artwork ever sold in Germany. It was a self-portrait by Max Beckmann from 1943 that hung behind an impressively soft-spoken auctioneer on Thursday night. A piece of theater at once slight and dumbfounding, it was all very German. Grisebach, it said on the lectern in red sans-serif font that recalled the logo of the Deutsche Bahn. It is an unlikely house for such a sale, the kind usually taken to Manhattan or Mayfair. But we were in Charlottenburg, and the room was packed.

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  • Plus Ça Change

    Inside Art Basel’s bustling new Parisian fair

    CORSETED IN CONSTRUCTION SITES, Paris may be visibly bracing itself for the 2024 Summer Olympics, but there’s been another kind of restructuring going on in its art world. While the city has nourished (or indulged) its homegrown scene for decades, the recent arrival of blue-chip transplants like Gagosian, Zwirner, and soon, Hauser & Wirth (which is plotting an Olympic-scaled takeover of a hôtel particulier) has ushered in the much-ballyhooed resurgence of the city as an international art hub. More specifically, the continental set see it as an alternative to London in the post-Brexit world (a

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  • Herding Katz

    Linda Yablonsky at the opening of “Alex Katz: Gathering”

    LAST FRIDAY EVENING, a sudden commotion interrupted the opening of “Alex Katz: Gathering” at the Guggenheim Museum.

    It was not a protest or a stunt. Just as outgoing director Richard Armstrong informed the New York Social Diary photographer Jill Krementz that the ninety-five-year-old artist was not expected to appear, he materialized—seemingly out of nowhere—on the bottom ramp of the rotunda. Once spotted, the sound of applause and cheers erupting in the lobby gained decibels as the hundreds of people on the upper tiers joined a spontaneous demonstration right out of Hello, Dolly!

    Looking swell

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