Now here’s a shitshow to make even steely old Andres Serrano flinch. Art mogul Larry Gagosian may finally be feeling some of the burn from the conflagration that’s been devastating the art market since a bunch of i-bankers got their sixes and nines epically confused. Although he tends to hide it well. Over the years, Gagosian has built a sturdy, gilded legacy of fancy artist husbandry, convincing the mightiest of affluencers to fall in love with the work of his clients — whether infamous or obscure. And everyone from bitter art fags to erudite (and miraculously still-employed) gallerists can’t deny his reach. However, a sharp downturn in asking prices and lucrative private deals are starting to chip away at Gagosian’s art armory.
Bear in mind this doesn’t mean that the man behind visionaries like Takashi Murakami, shellfish enthusiast Jeff Koons, that dude who encases animals in formaldehyde, and all of these other people is tiptoeing off a plank into dire straits. This just means that he’s faced with murkier money woes. No longer can artists like Chris Burden, also one of the dealer’s pets, procure $3 million of gold bricks for a project when the source of the bling stands accused of fraud — perhaps a non-issue in a past life where money and gold bricks alike flowed more freely. But in the face of such nuisance — because if anyone can regard the art market tempest more like a persistent housefly than anything else, it’s probably our darling chum Larry — the dealer remains tight-lipped, cautious, and reserved. But the upside to this, as every apocalypse always has a sunny side, is that humbling of the greats may gently nudge artists and remind them that they’re in this line of work because nothing else fits them more, not to win the rosy affection of beleaguered i-banking art aficionados.