Verge Art Fair Denies Disputes with Dylan Hotel Over Held Art Work

by Art Fag City on March 31, 2010 · 13 comments Events

POST BY PADDY JOHNSON

Gregory Lindquist, Installation view

Reincarnated from the ashes of Bridge, the art fair that left no exhibitor without complaint, comes Verge, a new fair, already entangled in legal disputes. Exhibiting artist Gregory Lindquist said Verge art fair venue, The Dylan Hotel, claimed his work as collateral and refused to release it when Verge failed to pay the hotel an outstanding balance of $10,300.

According to the account published on Lindquist’s blog, problems began early. Lindquist claims he participated in the fair because the website touted figures such as curator Dan Cameron and collector Beth Rudin DeWoody as members of the selection committee. I contacted Cameron and Rudin DeWoody last week to confirm their association with the fair, and both were upset to learn their names were used without permission. Although each had some nominal contact with the fair neither were involved with New York’s selection.

“I had agreed back in October to help advise them for the Verge Fair in Miami, & had one meeting with them, but that was the end of it (or so I thought).” Cameron told me over email. “They never contacted me about the recent edition.” When I asked Verge fair founder Michael Workman about it, he claimed there was an old link that hadn’t been updated. As of this writing that page remains.

But it was when the fair closed that the troubles really began. Lindquist’s gallery NURTUREart had not been provided with any pick up details, and was unable to reach the fair’s artistic director Eduoard Steinhauer as his phone was apparently full up with messages. Three days after the fair ended and multiple communication attempts later, Lindquist took matters into his own hands and went to the hotel to retrieve the work. From the artist’s blog:

I spoke with Ferran Sanfelimon, the Dylan Hotel's managing director, who informed me that because Mr. Steinhauer owed the hotel a $10,300 balance, he was holding the remaining artworks, which were deemed per contract property of the art fair once the individual artists delivered their work. We argued for about 45 minutes, insisting that I needed the two sculptures and three paintings for the solo exhibition opening March 18 at Elizabeth Harris Gallery which would be installed the following Tuesday the 16 of March. Mr. Ferran politely stated that his lawyer advised him not to release the work, the only apparent leverage that the hotel had via the individual artists to pressuring Steinhauer/Verge Art Fair to coming forward and settling/negotiating his debts.

Enter the lawyers. According to Lindquist, NUTUREart’s Volunteer Lawyer for the Arts contacted The Dylan Hotel and their lawyer Taina Rodriguez of McDermott Will & Emery LLP to inform them that according to New York law, holding art hostage for debt is illegal. Lindquist got his work back on the 12th, but when I contacted The Dylan Hotel for a statement it was like the dispute never occurred. “It is the hotel’s policy to hold any and all information regarding our guests in the highest of confidence.” Rodriquez wrote, “The hotel has no comment, except to say that no art work is being held.” When I told both her and a Dylan Hotel employee that failing to answer the question of whether work had ever been held would tell its own story, I was informed that publishing defamatory statements about the hotel would result in suit. Charming.

It seems unlikely there was no dispute at all given the number of lawyers I’ve spoken to on both sides of the story — second-hand information says that a confidentiality clause was added when the dispute between Verge and The Dylan Hotel was resolved — but then not everyone agrees on the facts. Michael Workman for example, doesn’t think there’s a problem at all. “There's no dispute between us and the Dylan hotel,” he told me over email. “There is no art being held, and Greg was late picking up his work.”

Riiiight.

  • Aaron

    It is disappointing that the efforts of Verge’s emerging artists have been reduced to pointing fingers.

    Clearly there should be more focus on the work itself.

    Is it necessary to report on the details of a situation that has since been resolved?

    It is unfortunate that your intended timely piece has distracted your readers from the work itself.

    This year Verge raised nearly ten grand for two charities – something really worth writing about.

    Best Regards

    Aaron McMasters

  • Aaron

    It is disappointing that the efforts of Verge’s emerging artists have been reduced to pointing fingers.

    Clearly there should be more focus on the work itself.

    Is it necessary to report on the details of a situation that has since been resolved?

    It is unfortunate that your intended timely piece has distracted your readers from the work itself.

    This year Verge raised nearly ten grand for two charities – something really worth writing about.

    Best Regards

    Aaron McMasters

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    It was Verge’s emerging artist Gregory Lindquist who brought this dispute to my attention, so clearly he’s not happy with the way Verge represented his work. What distracts from the art is a fair that misrepresents itself by listing a selection committee that doesn’t exist and is so poorly organized that it fails to effectively showcase the work of any of its artists. Verge should be ashamed.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    It was Verge’s emerging artist Gregory Lindquist who brought this dispute to my attention, so clearly he’s not happy with the way Verge represented his work. What distracts from the art is a fair that misrepresents itself by listing a selection committee that doesn’t exist and is so poorly organized that it fails to effectively showcase the work of any of its artists. Verge should be ashamed.

  • http://www.mazelartgallery.com mazel

    Hi, I am in the process of taking Michael Workman and his floozie bogus henchman to the attention of the attorney general in Florida for scamming me of $7,000.00 hard earned dollars. This money I paid to Workman for a spot in the 2009 Miami Basel art fair, but was never choosen and promise to reimburse my money , bah, I am still waiting.
    Guess it is easy to scam a Caribbean artist seeing we are so far away from the USA.

  • http://www.mazelartgallery.com mazel

    Hi, I am in the process of taking Michael Workman and his floozie bogus henchman to the attention of the attorney general in Florida for scamming me of $7,000.00 hard earned dollars. This money I paid to Workman for a spot in the 2009 Miami Basel art fair, but was never choosen and promise to reimburse my money , bah, I am still waiting.
    Guess it is easy to scam a Caribbean artist seeing we are so far away from the USA.

  • http://www.colonialfloorcare.com Marble Care for Floors

    Although each had some nominal contact with the fair neither were involved with New York’s selection.

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    The Dylan Hotel was resolved !

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    Good post!

  • Rainbowcircusarts

    Verge stiffed the entertainers from the show in Miami Beach for VIP event. They wont answer calls or emails. HEY!!!Cirque performers are artists too.

    Laurie Allen
    Rainbow Circus Productions & Events, LLC.
    North Miami Beach

  • http://links.fotki.com/nicholasdunn62/ Marie Schwartz

    Thanks for posting, I like this blog!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=755780157 Lance Waterman

    Dec 2012 here in Miami and Michael Workman is at it again. There were statements by him that simply did not happen. This man is obviously a scam artist. I have not talked to one artist associated with Workman, Verge or Light Assembly that is happy. Everyone wants a piece of this criminal.

  • http://www.thealphaenterprise.com/ The Alpha Enterprise

    Great Site Give me great Mood,Thank you For your sharing.

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