A FAIR GROWS IN L.A. IN THE FRIEZE VOID
Last week, Wet Paint detailed the demise of Frieze Los Angeles, undone by permitting issues that restrict retail entities from operating out of residential houses. Not allowed, alas. And so, instead of an ambitious edition of an art fair staged in a series of Modernist houses, we’ll have to wait until the fair takes over the Beverly Hilton-adjacent grounds in February 2022.
But don’t refund the plane tickets just yet. Sources tell Wet Paint that, despite the absence of Frieze, there’s still going to be a host of activities happening in La La Land at the end of July. First and foremost, Angelenos will get to welcome the return of Felix, the fair that for two years has run concurrently with Frieze, beloved by dealers and collectors for the fact that it’s held at the sprawling, old-school classic Hollywood Roosevelt hotel. It will once again be at the Roosevelt, but to keep to the current code, all booths will be held in the open-air cabanas, or in the downstairs rooms that open up their wide windows to the pool, which has a bonafide blue David Hockney painting at the bottom of it.
And while there won’t be galleries in the suites upstairs, that doesn’t mean Felix will be any less exciting. Sources said that some major L.A. dealers—many of whom were planning to do Frieze, and have done Frieze in the past—will be showing at Felix, giving Tinseltown some big art fair energy once again.
In addition, at the same time as Felix, the City of Angels will host the first-ever Gallery Weekend Los Angeles, establishing L.A.’s network of art spaces in line with that of another city with a powerful gallery weekend, Berlin. Sources said this kind of teamwork was unthinkable pre-pandemic—the Gallery Association of Los Angeles is not yet a year old, but its effort to launch its website last April galvanized local galleries during the brutal lockdown, and created a true community from which the new summer plan sprung.
And there’s a new center of power in town. David Zwirner’s space—announced in these pages last week—is said to be right next to the new gallery location of longtime L.A. stalwart Morán Morán, which is moving to a new space on Western Avenue and Melrose Avenue. The neighborhood is south of Hollywood, north of Koreatown—a new region entirely. And there’s even a new watering hole for the burgeoning nabe: Color Club, opened by none other than the quirky artist duo the Haas Brothers. Plan your summer travel accordingly.
Felix declined to comment.
THE ARTIST IS NOT PRESENT
Take a look at the artist list for the breathlessly hyped but completely unknown group show that’s opening tomorrow at Tramps, the cool kid downtown gallery founded by curator Parinaz Mogadassi in January 2017 that occupies office space directly underneath the Chinatown-side slope of the Manhattan Bridge. There are global heavyweights such as Peter Doig and up-and-comers Hadi Fallahpisheh and Marie Karlberg. There’s a slew of multi-hyphenate downtown figures, among them the actress Chlöe Sevigny, stylists Haley Wollens and Avena Gallagher, musician Matt Sweeney, and White Columns director Matthew Higgs, Reena Spaulings co-founder John Kelsey. A pretty stellar crew.
And then there’s an artist named Romeo Klein. It’s not exactly a cause for alarm if your Wet Paint scribe hasn’t heard of an artist, but after asking dozens of extremely in-the-know sources, had heard of Romeo Klein. Even stranger were the results of a Google search on the artist. The only hits came from shows that Klein had been in at Tramps and Michael Werner, the London-slash-New York gallery that Mogadassi works at while running the smaller space as a separate entity from the older blue-chipper (the two spaces often overlap in programming). The mysterious Mr. Klein also wrote an essay for a Kai Althoff book published in conjunction with the artist’s 2015 show at Michael Werner, and also popped up in a show at White Columns curated by Mogadassi and the artist Rita Ackermann. But Higgs and directors at Werner said they have no idea who Klein is.
Klein also wrote the text for a show of paintings by early 20th century artist Louis Eilshemius, who languished in relative obscurity until being championed by Marcel Duchamp. Eilshemius drew nudes of sprightly nymphs in landscapes, which might have inspired Klein’s somewhat out-there text, which begins: “too many basic girls reveling in the ‘subversion’ of submission. dog collar chokers and bad attitudes. a contrived coy emanating from a generation raised on a steady diet of internet porn. more soporous than seductive. maybe the last bastion of eroticism is celibacy.” Instagram promotion of the show consisted mostly of images of the supermodel Gia Carangi, who died of AIDS, at age 26, in 1986.
Images of actual artworks by Romero Klein, which exist only on the Tramps Instagram, show mannequins in dresses or bras or suit jackets.
Mogadassi didn’t respond to an email asking about the artist and requesting comment, but such a large swatch of Tramps-associated figures denied any knowledge of Romeo Klein that the whole thing reeked of a cover-up. The closest thing to a hint was one dealer saying, in a series of cryptic texts: “You can figure that one out, makes me happy that you’re asking.” Another dealer suggested that it must be a pseudonym for an artist who wants to have a separate practice anonymously. Could it be Mogadassi herself—or her husband, Peter Doig? There’s no clear evidence to suggest as much, but it could be anyone. Whatever it is, go see it at Tramps Saturday.
No one got the quiz last week! How about we show just a tiny bit more of the image and give it another go, shall we?
Once again, send guesses to [email protected] Hats will be sent to the victors.
Rufus Wainwright is quietly unloading the Gramercy apartment he’s owned since 2002, which comes with a key to the park—it’s a steal at $450,000, though it’s so small that Wainwright once described it thusly: “It’s a total dump, but in a weird way that’s very New York to me. Or what it used to be. Being an artist and being gay—well, I don’t want to equate being gay with being poor, but what can we say?” … Though the Jeff Koons show at the Deste Foundation’s Hydra space is postponed until 2022, Massimiliano Gioni is putting together a small show at Dakis Joannou’s destination art space—Greece is the only country that’s dropped quarantine protocols for Americans, so maybe the U.S. art world will actually be able to travel to it …
Blum and Poe is once again teaming up with the gallery Mendes Wood DM and the design fair Object and Thing to put on a show at gem of Modernist design, this time at the Luss House in Ossining, opening for previews during Frieze Week in New York … After getting denied by Dia—allegedly thanks to James Murdoch— moved to the Shed, hopefully they’ll be out before Frieze New York starts moving in in a week …
Lehmann Maupin is pairing two of the most canonical names from its roster, Gilbert & George and Hernan Bas, with the very young and very hot Dominic Chambers—after the gallery witnessed a feeding frenzy for the paintings out of the Palm Beach space last winter, there’s a long waiting list for the work … Aldrich Undercover, the fundraiser for the Connecticut museum that lets donors buy works without revealing which maybe-famous artist made it, will return May 6, taking place online … David Zwirner now represents Rirkrit Tiravanija in Hong Kong, though his normal New York gallery, Gladstone, will be bringing a solo booth of the artist’s paintings to Art Basel Hong Kong …
… Mina Stone, the brilliant chef behind Mina’s at MoMA PS1 (and former chef for the Urs Fischer studio) will be publishing a new book,, in September—it’s the follow up to her wildly popular Artists, a must have by the way … Hollywood classic Musso and Frank is reopening May 6 … and Bemelmans Bar, the greatest place to get a drink on planet earth, is reopening May 11 …
Larry Gagosian hosting a big, fun birthday party at his East 75th Street mansion Monday night, where guests such as artists Rachel Feinstein and John Currin mingled among the masterworks from his collection currently hanging in the historic abode—including, Wet Paint can reveal, Andy Warhol’s (1962), which Gagosian bought at Christie’s in 2014 for $41 million *** A generation of writers, editors and artists at KGB Bar on East 4th Street to celebrate the life of Giancarlo DiTrapano, the founder of Tyrant Books who died in late March ***
*** Lucien Smith celebrating his birthday at, well, Lucien, where else? *** A large crowd of downtown residents at the Save East River Park protest March to fight the unconscionable demolition of an integral part of the Lower East Side *** A Wet Paint hat spotted in the wild in Los Angeles by magazine’s Jamie Sims ***