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Tommy Mottola
Tommy Mottola

MOGUL MOTTOLA GALLERY

July 8, 2011

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Sony music mogul Tommy Mottola has swaggered into the fine art business, opening his Gallery Valentine in the former Hermès shop in East Hampton. Hanging on its walls during its opening last week was an Andy Warhol from his own collection, as well as works by Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Mel Bochner and Sam Francis. There are a few John Chamberlains on hand as well, no doubt thanks to the gallery’s director, Alexandra Fairweather -- Chamberlain’s stepdaughter. With his signature braggadocio, Mottola told the Wall Street Journal that his new enterprise is an antidote to a long-running local problem. "There's never been a serious gallery out here in the Hamptons,” he said.

Mottola's dismissive comment raised the ire of at least one dealer, James Salomon, who has run a project space on Plank Road in East Hampton for several seasons (he's sitting this summer out, though, to concentrate on his new space in Manhattan's Chelsea district). Salomon says he has written a letter of protest to the East Hampton Star, citing his colleagues John McWhinnie, Edsel Williams, the Drawing Room and Eric Firestone Gallery as among the respected dealers out in East Egg. As for Artnet News, we would add the estimable Vered Gallery in East Hampton to that list, along with others too numerous to mention.

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