“FREE ICE CREEAAM!” Mike Weiss, The Ice Cream Soup Nazi of Chelsea

by Paddy Johnson and Whitney Kimball on July 22, 2013 · 12 comments Off Our Chest

Dealer Mike Weiss is so full of generosity he can’t stop giving shit away. Last week, the gallery owner announced that he’d purchased a truckload of Benny’s Saturday, outside the gallery, from 12-6 PM, for art lovers to celebrate National Ice Cream Day. If you went out to Chelsea that day, it’s probably only because you were lured there over the promises of free ice cream.

But nothing’s really free is it? Mike Weiss’ prank on us all was to hand visitors a list of terms for how they’re allowed to consume it. The document ranges from cute, releasing the gallery from liability of “brain freeze” and “tooth cavity,” to poor taste, citing that the deal ends with “expulsion from [your] poop hole.” There’s a lot more where that came from.

He’s also posted a giant list of who’s not allowed to have ice cream, which we’re guessing, in the season of jokingly prejudiced summer shows and art world BBQs, is Mike Weiss’ own brand of off-color VIP block party. It revealed everything from the innocuous snubbing of Jeff Koons (but not his assistants) to actual snobbery– artists who didn’t graduate art school, and, mysteriously, members of the Bruce High Quality Foundation. It’s weird, but there’s ice cream involved, so whatever.

Shit gets real, though, when Weiss’ punchlines aim for casual sexism. Gallery girls can’t have ice cream, because they can only eat salad. You can multiply that cringe worthiness knowing the 2009 incident when Weiss fired registrar Meghann Snow after two days because he didn’t like her outfit or her non-perky attitude. Add to that, Weiss advertised the event with a full spread of photos of tweeny-looking Gossip Girls sucking face over an ice cream cone, subtitled: “FREE ICE CREEAAM!” and an intern-aged gallery girl with a snow cone labelled “SOMEONE FED THE GALLERINAS TODAY. BAD ELLEN!” Welcome to the art world, bitches.


For reference, here’s the full list of who’s not allowed to have ice cream:

By consuming the ice cream, you agree to the release of liability at the bottom of the page.

Mike Weiss Gallery does not allow people with sticky hands in the gallery. Please clean your hands before entering the gallery.

Ice cream is not allowed inside the gallery. Air conditioning inside the gallery will slow the melting process and assist you in extending your enjoyment of your ice cream, but we cannot abide confections of any kind to come near the priceless art works. It’s simply not worth the risk.

NO Fakers are EVER allowed inside the gallery, especially not on National Ice Cream Day.

NO ice cream for Super Storm Sandy adjusters.

NO cones for artists who did not finish art school.

ONLY one scoop allowed for artist Fred Tomaselli.

NO ice cream for members of Bruce High Quality Foundation.

ANYONE from Horton Gallery is not allowed to partake in the free ice cream. The reasons why are known only to the director and a certain artist at Horton Gallery.

NO ice cream for any artist that works with yarn.

IF you feel sick or nauseous, go ahead and eat the ice cream. It will help settle your stomach.

NOTHING for Freight and Volume owner, Nick Lawrence.

NO strawberry ice cream for Red Haired girls under nine.

NO ice cream for any hedge fund guys.

NO ice cream for girls in the gallery, salad only.

NO ONE from Mathew Marks gallery is allowed any ice cream, ever.

IF you are wearing flip flops, just turn around, go walk on the High Line and get a paleta. And hey, buddy, grow up!

NO ice cream for Jeff Koons, his assistants are welcome to enjoy double scoops.

Limit one per customer, unless you sneak back in line to get another one.

You will be required to agree to the following:

I, the consumer of the free ice cream, do hereby release and forever discharge Mike Weiss Gallery, their agents, employees, successors and assigns, and their respective heirs, personal representatives, affiliates, successors and assigns, and any and all persons, firms or corporations liable or who might be claimed to be liable, whether or not herein named, none of whom admit any liability to the undersigned, but all expressly denying liability, from any and all claims, demands, damages, actions, causes of action or suits of any kind or nature whatsoever, which I now have or may hereafter have, arising out of or in any way relating to any and all injuries and damages of any and every kind, to both person and property, and also any and all injuries and damages that may develop in the future, as a result of or in any way relating to the following: consumption of ice cream. Mike Weiss Gallery is released from any liability, which may include, but is not limited to: brain freeze, vomiting, intestinal failure, deep thrombosis, tooth cavity, violent outburst from sugar rush, lactose intolerance symptoms, surfer’s ear, memory loss, rash, bleeding, gum disease, shoes untied, grossly enlarged eyelids, mental illness, knock knees, high cholesterol, jaundice, cauliflower ear, hammer toe, balding, frozen nipples, swiss cheese face or moldy skin.

It is understood and agreed that expulsion of digested ice cream through the poop hole is a full and complete settlement and satisfaction of the causes of action, claims and demands mentioned herein; that this Release contains the entire agreement between the parties; and that the terms of this Agreement are contractual and not merely a recital. Furthermore, this Release shall be binding upon consumption of the ice cream, and includes consumer’s respective heirs, executors, administrators, personal representatives, successors and assigns. This Release shall be subject to and governed by the laws of the State of New York. Cameron Gray and Birth of a Legend did not come up with any of this nonsense. It was all Mike Weiss. He’s a neurotic workaholic who is secretly obsessed with all things Ronald Reagan and will do anything to bolster his legacy.


EmilyKrill July 24, 2013 at 10:30 am

Wow. That is some astute art criticism right here! (I am slow clapping right now.)
This show is OBVIOUSLY a parody of our society. Obvious jokes are being made. So to take this list of NONOs seriously is… childish. A small child might not understand that this is parody. A tween probably would. How old is this art critic?

Paddy Johnson July 24, 2013 at 10:45 am

Yeah, we’re aware this is a parody…a mind numbingly stupid parody.

EmilyKrill July 24, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Is it stupid? We’re talking about it on a major art blog, aren’t we? (Is this a major art blog? I can’t really tell from this article.)

Paddy Johnson July 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Yeah, it’s really stupid. Discussion of bad and/or poorly executed ideas isn’t evidence that they’re smarter than we realized. If it were, TMZ would be the academic journal of our time.

EmilyKrill July 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Do you think that the promotion was poorly executed, or do you think that Cameron’s Gray’s artwork was poorly executed? Or both?

EmilyKrill July 24, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Or wait—-Are you saying that this discussion, (which you started), is stupid? That I can agree with. And I don’t even watch much TMZ.

Paddy Johnson July 24, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I’m saying the promotion of the event is poorly executed and that the subsequent discussion isn’t evidence to the contrary.

The discussion isn’t worthless because I think the gallery made a lot of poor choices and isn’t contributing positively to the community. For example, the off-color joke about Horton Gallery and a certain artist not being allowed into the gallery is either needlessly airing dirty laundry or a really unfunny joke about gallery feuds in the art world. Probably, it’s both. I don’t think the gallery world needs more of that.

The press release says only that they celebrate National Ice Cream month in tandem with Cameron Gray’s Birth of a Legend. If there’s a greater relationship than this, then the gallery has done the artist an enormous disservice.

EmilyKrill July 24, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Hahaha. I honestly don’t know where to begin here. You are taking the gallery’s celebration of National Ice Cream Day so seriously. I can’t keep a straight face.

You and Whitney seem to be personally offended, as women, by the idea that the Mike Weiss Gallery would give away free ice cream but secretly be trying to…what? Sell Art? To Collectors? Jesus, the humanity! It’s horrible. Awful.

It is an Art Gallery. They make their money by Selling Art. They give away ice cream to get people into the gallery. Those people might buy the art.

Everyone was invited. They made a joke about certain people not being invited. But it was just a joke, because… Reality.

Paddy Johnson July 25, 2013 at 12:15 am

Out of curiosity, what are you looking to get out of this conversation? You’ve entirely rewritten/edited some of your comments and to what end? To make the same point four times? I get it. You think we’ve taken this joke too seriously. No need to tell us this again; this thread already looks as though it were taken over by a crazy person with either a vested interest in Mike Weiss Gallery or an axe to grind with AFC.

On the subject of Cameron Cray: you asked me if I thought his work was poorly executed. As far as I know, it had nothing to do with the event, and that’s why I cited the press release. It tells us the same thing. If you want to construe that into a conspiracy theory about ice cream and selling art, that’s fine too.

EmilyKrill July 25, 2013 at 6:22 am

It’s actually Cameron Gray, with a G. (I edit my own comments when I realize that I’ve misspelled something, or expressed a thought ungrammatically.) Sorry!

EmilyKrill July 25, 2013 at 6:39 am

I do really love Gray’s work, and I have been following it for years. I was happy when I got to see his first big East Coast show at MWG.

I understand that it seems like crazy talk. But what I am trying to communicate to you is that there is more to this story than what you sleuthed together. I know that bloggers don’t have time to investigate all the rumors that they post. (Mike Weiss is super sexist! A woman said she was fired for being unperky in 2009!)

But the comments section can also be a source of information too. Or a discussion of what you think you know, and why that might not be the whole story.

Paddy Johnson July 25, 2013 at 9:55 am

There aren’t any rumors in this post. It’s drawn from the gallery’s facebook page.

If the post tells only part of a larger story, why, in all your comments, have never mentioned what you think the larger story is?

Your comments are made in bad faith. You say you want this section to be a source of information but provide none. Half your comments are dedicated to slagging the blog and its writers, and don’t further an argument of any kind. You say you edit your comments for grammatical issues when in at least one case, they’ve been completely rewritten.

Editing after the fact is a bad practice because it fucks with the publishing record, but worse is lying about it. It’s the definition of bad faith, and I won’t participate in any conversation under those conditions.

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