Miami Developer Craig Robins Sues a Chelsea Art Gallery for $8 Million

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. Perhaps if reps at the David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea had heeded this 19th century aphorism (that is often wrongly credited to Shakespeare), then Miami developer Craig Robins wouldn’t be facing a new legal battle.

While the facts of this case have yet to be confirmed as truth, as fans of Robbins’ visionary projects, we can’t help but feel a bit partial. Lincoln Road and Espanola Way are his hotspots that have been embraced by many a tourist throughout the years. And the trendiness of his burgeoning Design District revitalization is haute enough for VIP locals, favored celebrities, and mentions in the New York Times travel section, not to mention one of our favorite restaurant districts for 2010.

So back to the case at hand. Here’s what we know so far: Robins filed papers in Manhattan federal court alleging that David Zwirner Gallery breached a confidentiality agreement. What secrets did the gallery spill? According to Robins, the gallery told painter Marlene Dumas that Robins had sold off one of her 1994 works, “Reinhardt’s Daughter.” After finding out about the sale, Robins was blacklisted by Dumas from investing in any more of her works.

What did the gallery have to gain from such disloyalty? An in with the artist, who is favored with collectors and museums like MoMA. The thinking being that if they spill the beans, perhaps she would play favorites and sign an exclusive representation deal. The New York Post reports that after Robins learned of his blacklist status, he confronted the gallery, who immediately apologized and promised compensation in the form of future first picks of Dumas’ works, as well as removal from the list. When those promises did not come to pass, Robins opted for Uncle Sam’s opinion. A spokesperson for the gallery vehemently denies the charges and promises to come out swinging.

In addition to reinventing some of our favorite areas of the Magic City, Robins is also known around town as an avid art enthusiast. He is founder and chairman of the Anaphiel Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting arts education, and sits on the Board of Trustees of the Miami Art Museum.

Source New York Post