Last year was a wild one for relations between artists and their galleries. Numerous burgeoning talents signed up with major New York dealers; meanwhile, a handful of established relationships came to abrupt ends, with star players switching teams. There’s no sign things will slow down in 2013, with news of signings of closely watched emerging artists and a rumor that one more major arrangement is in the works.
The big question at the moment is where the artists who left Gagosian at the end of 2012, Damien Hirst and Yayoi Kusama, will end up, in terms of a New York representative. In late December, the German newspaper Die Welt reported that Ms. Kusama is rumored to be in talks to join the David Zwirner gallery, which just opened a space in London and has another space in the works on 20th Street in Chelsea, a block north of its already-massive 19th Street galleries. The rumor about Ms. Kusama, who is renowned for her polka-dotted works, has been making the rounds in New York art circles, though Zwirner’s reps have declined to comment.
If Ms. Kusama makes the move to Zwirner, she may find some familiar company over there. Jeff Koons, who has long shown with Gagosian and Sonnabend, announced in early December that he would do a show there this year. As if Zwirner wasn’t having a good enough start to 2013, Russian art patron Maria Baibakova told the Nowness website, as part of her New Year’s predictions, that she thinks Zwirner “will overcome Larry Gagosian as the number one gallerist in the world” in 2013.
In other news, Chelsea’s Metro Pictures gallery has picked up the Bordeaux, France-born, New York-based artist Alexandre Singh, who opens a new show, “The Pledge,” at the Drawing Center on Jan. 17. Though he’s shown widely in Europe, this will be his debut museum exhibition in North America, and his first show in New York since his 2009 gallery debut in the city at Harris Lieberman. Known for slyly comic collages, inspired most recently by interviews that he conducts with people from various disciplines (artists, scientists, filmmakers), Mr. Singh is currently in residency at the Witte de With arts center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, developing a theater piece called The Humans that will hit the Brooklyn Academy of Music in the fall.
Down on the Lower East Side, Nicelle Beauchene, freshly installed in a new two-story Broome Street gallery that she shares with Jack Hanley (they trade floors with each new show) has begun working with the Los Angeles-based video artist Owen Kydd, who makes short, sometimes subtly manipulated, single-shot digital films that resemble photographic still lifes. Ms. Beauchene, who shows emerging artists like painter Sarah Crowner and the photographer and critic Chris Wiley (who introduced her to Mr. Kydd’s work), opens a show with her new signee on Jan. 25.
As Lower East Side and Chelsea galleries continue to expand, there’s no doubt there will be many more new signings to come.