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Gagosian Gallery

Will ex-Gagosian staffers poach his artists?

New Chelsea gallery to show Hirst, Salle and Brown

A new gallery in Chelsea is causing a fuss even before it opens on 21 September. Stefania Bortolami and Amalia Dayan, both former employees of the Gagosian Gallery, are inaugurating a 4,000 square foot space with a group show called “Closing down” at 510 West 25th Street just a block away from their former boss’s vast downtown space.

Gagosian employees have left before, but none, other gallerists say, have tried to steal his artists. Ms Bortolami, they claim, tried to woo Cecily Brown, Ghada Amer and others, apparently unsuccessfully.

Larry Gagosian is also said to be furious because he discovered the pair was leaving last year from other sources, not directly from them. Mr Gagosian, who did not return phone calls seeking comment, has reportedly warned his clients not to work with his ex-employees.

Ms Bortolami admitted that the parting was “not amicable,” but said “there were no complaints on our part–we left because we wanted to go out on our own”. Ms Bortolami denies that she or Ms Dayan tried to steal Gagosian artists.

Ms Bortolami also denies that Adam Lindemann, chairman of Mega Communications, a network of Spanish-language radio stations, and Ms Dayan’s partner, is backing the gallery. She says she bought the building 50-50 with Mr Lindemann, but that she and Ms Dayan will finance the gallery independently.

Ms Bortolami worked for Gagosian for about six years and is described as very dynamic, a “mini-Larry” who recruited some of his top artists, including John Currin (from Andrea Rosen). Sources believe that Bortolami Dayan will focus on younger, less-established artists than those in Gagosian’s stable.