Gagosian Quarterly

Summer 2021 Issue

Doris Ammann

Larry Gagosian reflects on the incredible life and career of his friend Doris Ammann.

Doris Ammann and Georg Frei, New York, 2007

Doris Ammann and Georg Frei, New York, 2007

Doris could light up a room, brighten every conversation, illuminate an artist’s intentions, and spark a collector’s passion. She had the high-wattage European sophistication that can intimidate in any language, but also a disarming warmth and wit that could put anyone at ease. She was both an impeccable perfectionist and a modest and forgiving friend. The ever-present twinkle in her eye was as irresistible as her quick and generous smile. The art world will be much dimmer without her.

She became one of the most talented art dealers in the world, but it was not a role she chose for herself. In 1977 she cofounded Thomas Ammann Fine Art AG, the Zurich gallery that bore the name of her charismatic brother, and where she happily played the supporting role. When Thomas tragically died, in 1993, she came from behind the scenes to center stage with fortitude and grace. Thrust into a world of extraordinarily competitive dealers, she became a beloved and respected friend among them. She had the attention of the top collectors in the world and gained their confidence by being a consummate professional and a true class act. Her discretion was legendary. She was strong but never forceful. You can gain power by force, but it’s stronger if you gain it through admiration. She commanded respect from artists, curators, and collectors alike through her sheer straightforward excellence. The art world’s love affair with Doris was earnest, deserved, and reciprocated.

Doris Ammann

Doris Ammann and Georg Frei, Rome, 2007

Doris Ammann

Georg Frei and Doris Ammann, New York, 2012

Doris Ammann

Georg Frei and Doris Ammann, Basel, 2006

Doris Ammann

Alba Clemente and Doris Ammann, New York, 2004

Doris found a collaborator and a soulmate in the art historian Georg Frei. They spent over three decades working together in one of the most enviable partnerships in the art business—the two were inseparable, cutting expertly tailored figures around the globe and finding themselves inevitably on every guest list. The thing about Doris and Georg was not only that they were sophisticated and erudite and really knew their stuff, but that they knew art was a grand adventure and seemed to have a lot of fun. Their affection for art, artists, and each other was infectious.

We were friends and co-conspirators for forty years. Every encounter or conversation with Doris could be the bright spot of the day or the thing that kept you up at night—she made it all look so easy and her elegance seemed effortless, but it was born of real guts. What becomes a legend most? Warholian red lipstick is the perfect war paint. The art world is not for the faint-hearted, but Doris proved one can excel with decency and the rare quality of unshakable integrity. Her friendships were pure and lasting and true. She wouldn’t sell her real treasures for the world. For nearly my whole life in this business, she was a model and inspiration and sometime jousting partner. Her friendship was a gift that will long outlast the loss. Her unexpected death leaves a hole at the very center of the art world that we haven’t begun to get our heads around yet. She was so loved and she will be greatly missed.

Artwork © Jean Pigozzi

Carrie Mae Weems’s The Louvre (2006), on the cover of Gagosian Quarterly, Summer 2021

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2021

The Summer 2021 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Carrie Mae Weems’s The Louvre (2006) on its cover.

The inside of Theaster Gates’s Black Vessel for a Saint sculpture

How to Renew the Color of Bricks

Social historian Chris Dingwall reflects on Theaster Gates’s engagement with the history of quotidian materials, focusing on the symbolic qualities and function of his brick-based sculpture.

Black and White photo of Vincent Warren dancing in Catulli Carmina, c. 1969.

The fact that you move so beautifully

On the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of Frank O’Hara’s celebrated poem “Having a Coke with You,” Gillian Jakab takes a look at the “poet among painters” and the poem’s “You.”

Rick Lowe, Black Wall Street Journey #5, 2021, Acrylic and paper collage on canvas, 108 × 192 inches (274.3 × 487.7 cm)© Rick Lowe Studio. Photo: Thomas Dubrock

Notes on Social Works

Antwaun Sargent presents a collection of thoughts and images, gathered from conversations with artists, curators, architects, and educators, as well as essays, social media, and the news, that inform the exhibition Social Works. The essay serves as an introduction to the corresponding supplement guest edited by Sargent for the Summer 2021 issue of the Quarterly.

Frank Gehry, drawing for mixed-use urban redevelopment proposal, Central Business District, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1981. Image: courtesy Gehry Partners, LLP

Frank Gehry: Fish Lamps

Paul Goldberger traces the history of the fish form throughout Frank Gehry’s career.

Helen Frankenthaler, Heart of London Map, steel sculpture

Helen Frankenthaler: A Painter’s Sculptures

On the occasion of four exhibitions in London exploring different aspects of Helen Frankenthaler’s work, Lauren Mahony introduces texts by the sculptor Anthony Caro and by the artist herself on her relatively unfamiliar first body of sculpture, made in the summer of 1972 in Caro’s London studio.

Installation view, Adriana Varejão: Talavera, Gagosian, West 21st Street, New York, May 3–June 26, 2021. Photo: Rob McKeever

Adriana Varejão: For a Poetics of Difference

Curator Luisa Duarte considers the artist’s oeuvre, writing on Varejão’s active engagement with theories of difference, as well as the cultural specters of the past.

Thomas McEvilley, Ulay (hiding behind a slab of wood), Eric Orr, and James Lee Byars, c. 1995 © Ulay, courtesy ULAY Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Game Changer
Thomas McEvilley

David Frankel celebrates the art-historical contributions made by the scholar, poet, and critic Thomas McEvilley.

Louise Bonnet, Resting Sphinx Black Background, 2021, colored pencil on paper, 24 x 19 inches (61 x 48.3 cm)

Louise Bonnet: Sphinxes

Ali Subotnick investigates the artist’s surreal new series of drawings.

Dr. David Driskell, 2002, head resting on hand in a blue shirt with art in the background.

Game Changer
Dr. David Driskell

Taylor Aldridge reflects on the enduring legacy of the artist, educator, curator, and scholar.

Left: Jordan Belson, Berkeley, California, c. 1946. Photo: courtesy Estate of Jordan Belson. Right: Harry Smith (front) and Lionel Ziprin, New York City, c. 1952. Photo: Joanne Ziprin, courtesy Lionel Ziprin Archives

Delineators: Jordan Belson and Harry Smith

Raymond Foye tracks the relationship between the two mavericks, investigating their influence on one another and their enduring legacies.

Bill Gunn, 1982. Photo: © Marshall “Tres” Johnson

Cosmic Freeze Frames: A Poetics of Bill Gunn

Carlos Valladares discusses the films of the pioneering director.