Waiting for the call from Hauser & Wirth

Jonathan Grossmalerman, from the May 2013 issue

By Jonathan Grossmalerman

Grossmalerman tries and fails to paint smaller

I feel almost ashamed to say it, but I think I’ve outgrown my gallery. I’ve shown with Maximilian Bingeweary for ten years now, but my new suite of paintings... well... they just won’t fit. I’ve tried to paint smaller, mind you. Especially after the ‘fiasco’ of my 2011 exhibit, when three art handlers were crushed by Titties 3 (2010, oil on lead, 900 x 1800 cm). 

But when I paint, I dream, and when I dream, I dream big! I can’t tether my imagination to the middling desires of, say, a doctor or ‘conventional’ lawyer when there are oligarchs and bankers who share my unhinged hunger for absolute freedom and champagne and incredible awesomeness! I’m through with the handwringing and apologising for my outrageous dreams! As heavy as gold! You hear me?!

Where do I go from miniature Hauser & fucking Wirth!?

The thing is, I’m just not sure how to break it to my gallerist. Max has invested a lot in my career and we’re very good friends. Also, he’s a remarkably litigious man and I’m sure somewhere down the line I signed something. In any case, ever since I decided to leave the gallery it’s begun to dawn on me how much I really despise him. It’s like I’ve already made the emotional leap, so there’s really no turning back now. I hate him! With his stupid suits and phone calls and projects. Ugh! The future looks so bright without that awful little man, his poorly chosen eyeglasses and charmless Yorkshire accent.

But now I’m making it sound like it’s about Max, and it really isn’t. You see, I can’t help but feel I’m about to get a call from Hauser & Wirth. I know that I probably shouldn’t say that out loud, but frankly l’m pretty confident. How can I describe it? I have a feeling. Somewhere in my middle. Three of my gallery colleagues have already been poached, so I imagine it’s simply a matter of time. 

And anyway, their new space is the only one in New York big enough to show the seven really fantastic paintings that comprise my new Clit Swell! suite. I’ve already had my assistant Neal (who is otherwise useless!) build a maquette in which tiny scaled versions hang on their walls, and I must say it looks pretty fucking great. Although... looking at it now as I write this, I cannot help feel that even in the miniature Hauser & Wirth space my miniature paintings are on the verge of looking a little cramped. Damn it! Where do I go from miniature Hauser & fucking Wirth!?

I know, I know – I’m getting a little ahead of myself, right? But what do I do if it doesn’t work out with them? Gagosian? With its low ceilings? I haven’t seen the new Zwirner gallery, but if it’s anything like the old one, with its three miserable spaces pretending to be one big space, then I’m out of luck! 

The rest of Chelsea is an awful clutter of diminutive galleries feigning importance. I can’t bear to even walk in one. With their artists no one has ever heard of and their ridiculous ideas. Who do they even think they are!? It makes you wonder whether we really need more than a handful of galleries. Perhaps they should all be combined to form one big space. 

Anyway, it’s just a thought. What we need are some gallerists who aren’t afraid to dream. Who can stand in the face of the future, shake their fists and scream, “I fear not! I shall build a tremendously huge gallery! With ceilings that transcend the sky and walls that best the horizon! It shall be white with frosted doors, and sexy women will man the telephones and the computers!”

I suppose until that time comes, I’ll just have to settle for Hauser & Wirth. Damn you! You miserable telephone! Ring! Are you dumb as well as blind!?

This article was first published in the May 2013 issue