The recent record sales of Chinese contemporary art have, insiders say, given megadealer Larry Gagosian eyes for China. These sources say Gagosian has retained a representative to lay the groundwork for an office in Beijing or Shanghai. Gagosian recently opened a temporary space in a tony suburb of Moscow, where the oligarchs hunger for the blue-chip art he peddles. China has yet to develop that appetite. “I think that the long-term prospects there are really promising,” says Ingrid Dudek, a specialist in Asian contemporary art at Christie’s. “But for the most part, Chinese buyers are exclusively motivated to buy Chinese art.” Meanwhile, according to a gallerist with long-standing ties to Beijing’s art scene, Gagosian is in talks to represent Yue Minjun, whose grinning self-portraits have taken on an iconic status among collectors. (One of his works, Execution, sold for nearly $6 million at Sotheby’s this fall, then a record for contemporary Chinese artwork.) A spokesman for Gagosian described efforts to woo Yue as “total speculation,” but acknowledged that the dealer “may be exploring the possibility of having an office in China.”
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