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Latest on Marlene Dumas collector vs. dealer, short lists and blacklists

April 22, 2010 |  6:00 am

Reinhardt_web Collectors chasing after new work by big-name artists like Marlene Dumas, Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince know all about lists.

There are the short lists: collectors who for whatever reason (whether a cozy relationship with the artist or gallery or ties to a museum where they might donate the work) get first pick from a gallery exhibition.

There are the waiting lists: those who don't make that first cut.

And for certain artists at certain galleries there are also the blacklists: collectors not allowed to buy the artist's work from the gallery, typically because they are perceived to be speculators looking to flip the work.

So what happens when a powerful collector says he's been bumped from short list to blacklist?

That question is at the core of an $8-million lawsuit brought March 29 by Craig Robins, the Miami art collector and real estate developer who made his fortune by turning South Beach from a sleepy retirement strip into a nonstop party destination in the late '80s.  

Robins claims that word of his liquidating a Dumas painting from his collection, "Reinhardt's Daughter," landed him on the artist's blacklist, preventing him from buying further works, and he has sued Dumas' New York dealer David Zwirner for allegedly disclosing the sale.

Robins also filed a preliminary injunction against Zwirner to stop the dealer from selling three paintings from his current Dumas show that Robins says would have been his top choices.

A hearing for the injunction took place in Manhattan on Tuesday, and Sarah Douglas has the blow-by-blow on Artinfo.

Among the revelations: former Dumas dealer Jack Tilton, subpoenaed by Robins' team, spoke of the existence of not just one but "several" Dumas blacklists--and a "grey list" as well. The judge's ruling on the injunction is expected shortly.

In the New York Times, Randy Kennedy gave an overview of the suit. What looks like a "fairly ordinary contract dispute," he wrote, offers a window onto "a normally very private world of high-end art selling in which membership rules, responsibilities, rewards and reprisals can be so complex and changeable that even art world veterans say they sometimes struggle to decode them."

In New York magazine earlier this month, art critic Jerry Saltz finally found something to like about Marlene Dumas' work.

--Jori Finkel

On twitter @jorifinkel

Above: "Reinhardt's Daughter," 1994, by Marlene Dumas

Comments () | Archives (4)

How about the blacklists by "gallerists" when they or their buddies get criticisized in public forums. Not me of course, would never go to any of the artscene trustfund hippies in LA. Havent tried, and never will. But a friend has, and gotten criticism for exercising his right to free speach.

Goddamn hippies. I love Southpark, he has you smugness level exacerbators pegged. It really pretty easy. Even fascist Cartman has his fatass charm(all terms in the show)Art gallerists the same as Islamic extremists? Seems like a connection, and a good follow up to todays show on Muhammed in a bear suit.

No, artistes love to point foingers, everywhere but the mirror they should be looking in for more than hair jell. Start looking inside, instead of the exterior metrosexual. For that is where art lies, and so practically non existent in LA, hollow and slave to fashion as it is. And obviously scared and image conscious freaks.

Come down to Watts, and out of your gilded sheltered ghettos. The Towers await your "discovery", you just may find true art.

It is a gallerist's job to protect his artists and their work from speculators.
The artist as well has every right to have a list of those who may and may not buy her work. It is HER work. An art gallery is not Nordstroms where you can buy what you like off the rack. Works of art have great value to those who make them and even, YES, to those who sell them. Kudos to Mr. Zwirner for caring for artists and artworks and not just for profits.

This article definitely presents this story in a different way from the New York Times...I get the feeling that the author here was more supportive of the collector than the artist. I agree with Rachel, Dumas, and David Zwirner as her representation, should have the final say in who collects the work because collecting art is more than an investment, at least from the artists perspective.

I would seem to me that once you have reached the plateau where your art has made you wealthy you should be grateful and spend you time working or helping charitable causes rather than worrying over a collector making some bank. After all it’s a collectors who make the artists that bank in the first place. On the other had it seems obsessive for a collector to center in on one artist when there are so many artists that the collector could buy and sell if they feel they are being treated badly. Sounds like a very selfish ego wars by all the parties. Get over yourselves.


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