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Nate Freeman. Photo: Alejandro Chavarria.
Nate Freeman. Photo: Alejandro Chavarria.

Artnet’s Nate Freeman Moves to Vanity Fair

Will Wet Paint dry up? Nate Freeman, senior art business reporter at Artnet News, the news site affiliated with virtual art-market platform, will join Condé Nast heavy hitter Vanity Fair as art columnist and staff writer on August 2. Freeman, who announced the news June 30 via Twitter, is perhaps best known as the author of Artnet’s juicy and widely read art-world gossip column, Wet Paint. A welter of information on topics ranging from insidery business tidbits (“Cryptopunks Buyers Revealed”) to titillating personal news (“Julian Schnabel is having a baby at 70”) and often including tantalizing blind items (“Which influential artist called on Sotheby’s to hold a Black Lives Matter sale? Which VIP sent Frieze a conspiracy-filled screed?”), the column was recently paywalled along with a select few other features, under the Artnet News Pro initiative, which boasts a monthly cost roughly six times that of the New York Times.

“I could not be more excited,” Freeman told Artforum in an email. “Anyone who knows me knows it’s always been a dream of mine to work at Vanity Fair. It’s where I first encountered the top-notch investigative reporting that made me want to be a writer—as well as the coverage of cultural happenings and high-society shindigs that made me want to be a writer in Manhattan.”

Acknowledging that he will now be writing for a larger and broader audience, many of whose members lack intimate knowledge of the art world, Freeman—who joined Artnet News in 2019 after stints at Artsy, Artnews, and The Observer—asserted that “the DNA of my writing won’t change dramatically. In so many ways, contemporary art has become part of the pop culture firmament. I’ll still be writing about the titans of industry who pull the levers of power in the art world, and how these forces of power intersect with Wall Street, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Washington, and other centers of influence.”

“Nate has an uncanny knack for seeing the vagaries of the art market for the shifts in status, transfers of power, or society capers they so often are,” said Vanity Fair executive editor Matthew Lynch in a statement. “In other words, he is a natural fit for Vanity Fair and we couldn’t be happier to have him joining on.”