The artists Katharina Grosse, Corinne Wasmuht and the Scandinavian duo Elmgreen & Dragset are no longer represented by Galerie König, based in Berlin and Seoul. Since this morning, their names no longer appear on the list of artists listed on the gallery’s website.
The news comes at a turbulent time for the gallery, which is reeling from allegations of sexual misconduct against its founder, Johann König, published in the German newspaper Die Zeit. König denies the allegations and is now engaged in a legal battle with the newspaper. It is unclear whether there is a direct link between the departures and the recent allegations.
Artnet News has reached out to the artists’ reps to confirm the reasoning and specific timing behind their respective split. Elmgreen & Dragset replied: “It is correct that we no longer work with Galerie König. We appreciate your understanding that we do not wish to comment further. Representatives for Grosse did not return with a comment.
The four artists from Berlin have all been part of the gallery for some time.
Grosse became a titan in the German art world, known for her colorful spray-painted monumental sculptures and installations, and her works nationwide have a devoted collector. Galerie Nächst St. Stephan in Vienna Rosemarie Schwarzwälder sold several of Grosse’s works at the new Paris+ by Art Basel fair, between €51,000 (for a work on paper) and €350,000 (for an acrylic on canvas). The artist is also represented by the Gagosian Gallery.
Scandinavian duo Elmgreen & Dragset have also built a reputation for monumental sculptural work that fuses elements of art and architecture with design. They too have a buoyant market: the Perrotin gallery recently sold a sculpture in stainless steel and lacquer (also at Paris +) between 90,000 and 100,000 €. The pair is also represented by Massimo de Carlo.
German artist Corinne Wasmuht produces intensely layered paintings that border on abstraction and deal with technological ephemera. Represented by Petzel, her fifth exhibition with the American gallery closed on November 12.
The news also follows the announcement that another major artist from König’s stable, Monica Bonvicini, will no longer be working with the gallery. Bonvicini was the first and is so far the only artist to link her departure to the allegations. While it initially announced it would be putting its relationship with König on hiatus until the allegations are resolved, the gallery later reported that it had decided to “cut ties” with the artist for the protect. Bonvicini is set to open a major solo exhibition at Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie on November 25.
There has been more fallout following the allegations. The American English translation of König’s 2019 memoir, Jhe Blind gallery owner, which details how he partially lost his sight as a child and went on to build a visual arts empire, was also suspended. The publisher, Sternberg Press, did not respond to requests for comment from Artnet News.
Three other artists’ names disappeared from the gallery’s list after the allegations became public in late August; Amalia Pica, Helen Marten and Trey Abdella. Contacted by Artnet News, none indicated the reason for his departure, and none linked their decision to the allegations made against König.
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