New York Magazine piles on Larry Gagosian following a slew of other stories trying to draw together the various high-profile artist defections and lawsuits with collectors with this story by Eric Konigsberg. The bulk of the story is a rehash of what we already know. But there’s still plenty of fun material.
Here’s Gagosian quoted by an anonymous peer selling with his signature bluntness:
‘That’s a million-dollar picture: It’s colorful, it has tits, and the guy’s a good painter.’
Or this tidbit about Ron Perelman:
His collection is an investment vehicle, an “art fund,” actually, within an umbrella company that also owns large stakes in the biotechnology, gaming, and financial-services industries.
Perhaps Konigsberg’s biggest get—from an “associate” of Mugrabi’s no less—is this long transcription of Alberto Mugrabi’s side of a pre-auction phone conversation between Gagosian and the private dealer as the two coordinate their mutual interests:
“Do you like the shoe painting or not really?” Mugrabi asked Gagosian. “I’m gonna try to buy it cheap if I can.” Gagosian was apparently interested. “Okay, we’ll always give you an option,” Mugrabi assured him, and also ran through some of the other lots. He suggested Gagosian bid on an Andreas Gursky photograph of Dubai (“the blue one”) that he thought was unlikely to sell above its estimated price range—“especially if you want to try to lure this guy in.” Gagosian was eager to represent Gursky, and has since signed him. But two Alexander Calder mobiles, a large Jean-Michel Basquiat work painted in the year of his death, and “the European art—like the [Lucio] Fontana and the Yves Klein, all that stuff”—would probably do well without their help, Mugrabi said. “I hate that Basquiat, you?” he added. “I like the ones we got so much better than that.”
Finally, according to a word-for-word record of Mugrabi’s end of the conversation, witnessed and transcribed by an associate who was at Claridge’s, he agreed to phone Sotheby’s again to negotiate. It appears that Gagosian told Mugrabi to try to float by Sotheby’s a price of £350,000, for one particular work with an estimate of £500,000, and then call Gagosian back.
The Trials of Art Superdealer Larry Gagosian (New York Magazine)