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18. Join the Establishment. Cling to Your Street Cred.

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Gavin Brown in his gallery.  

The social prominence, the roster—it’s natural that Brown is often considered the heir to Larry Gagosian’s gallery crown, but he demurs. “I think what he’s doing is extraordinary because he’s managing to have all the plates spinning,” Brown says of the dark prince on whose empire—eleven galleries around the world—the sun, famously, never sets. “It’s an ambition that doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t have a messianic streak. I have an enormous ambition for art and communication, and I don’t necessarily see that scale as adding anything. I’m kind of in awe of how he’s pinning the marketplace down. But there’s this tension between what it is we’re looking at—is it the effect of money? Or the power of culture? He’s as interesting as any of the artists he shows. I guess I should want it, but I think there are other ways. Other gold standards. I was just listening to the minister of happiness from Bhutan talk about time management on the radio and—what was the word?”

An hour later there’s a text from Brown: “Mindfulness.”


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