In a new interview with the New York Times last week, painter and musician Issy Wood opened up about her rejection of two potential patrons, mega-gallerist Larry Gagosian and music producer Marc Ronson, whose record label Zelig briefly represented Wood.
“If I wanted an older man to hold money over my head, I would’ve gotten back in touch with my dad,” Wood told the Times.
The 29-year-old encountered success early on, when gallerist Vanessa Carlos, co-founder of London gallery Carlos/Ishikawa, took note of Wood’s paintings that she posted on her Tumblr in 2017 while still in art school and began exhibiting her work. In 2019, Wood signed to New York-based gallery JTT. It’s unclear exactly when her talks with Gagosian started but, in the fall of 2021, Wood made a painting for the new Gagosian imprint Picture Books that invited artists to create artwork in response to a particular novel. Wood painted a scene from Ottessa Moshfegh’s then-much anticipated book Lapovna in a work titled the down payment (2021).
Wood described her relationships with both Gagosian and Ronson as defined by a sort of entitlement to her work. “He made sure that I always knew that he was doing me a favor,” Wood said of Ronson, before noting that Gagosian made her feel similarly.
In her last business meeting with Gagosian, according to Wood, she asked what would happen to her work after the famed art dealer died. Later, her texted her, “the other galleries you are considering will go out of business long before my demise.”
Wood is now represented by Michael Werner, an Upper East Side gallery where Wood’s show Time Sensitive is currently on view. As for her music, she recently released her new album, My Body Your Choice, independently.