What was less fine, though, was the personal attention that followed the sale of Falling Woman. News of Weyant’s relationship with Gagosian morphed into general-interest gossip, and photographs of the couple began showing up in the Daily Mail. Around this time, a rumor started circulating that Weyant was pregnant with his baby. Online, a meme of a photo with Larry’s head on top of a baby’s body circulated with text announcing the birth. Although there wasn’t any truth to the meme, Weyant says she started receiving texts about it, and people started contacting her artist liaison at the gallery to find out more information. Weyant says that acquaintances began congratulating her at dinner parties.
“I think part of it, too, was that it was intended to be a little bit of a market hit,” Weyant explains. “ ‘This woman is now becoming a mother, and there goes her career.’ ” Weyant says the situation became like a game of telephone, where she became aware of “spin-off rumors” that she was keeping the supposed baby in a separate apartment. “At the time, I was struggling and had gained weight and was so self-conscious. I thought that maybe someone saw me and thought…. I don’t know where the fuck it came from.”
The worst part, though? “It was hard, too, for my family. They put up with a lot of my bullshit, and they’re very patient,” she says. “My parents sort of knew [about her relationship with Larry], but it was a sensitive situation.”
“I was so ill-equipped and so vulnerable that it crushed me,” she says. “I thought about killing myself. I was so mortified.”
Weyant is not totally closed off about her relationship, but she has been mindful of Larry, who rarely talks to the press about his personal life. What she has told me about the relationship is that “it’s weird and it’s great” and that she takes his opinion of her work so seriously that she couldn’t bear to show him the paintings for her recent show in Paris until the show’s opening. (She works with a team at the gallery that he’s not part of.) Eventually, I ask how these pregnancy rumors impacted Larry and their relationship.
“God, I don’t even remember,” she says. “I don’t think we really spoke about it. He’s such a tough cookie about that stuff that nothing gets through to him.”
“If I go to him and say, ‘I’m sad because someone was mean to me on the internet…’ ” she says, “he would just not understand.”
One thing Larry, and his Gagosian employees, surely must understand, is the process of protecting an artist whose market may be under threat. But instead of having a negative effect on her market, the sale of Falling Woman ultimately seems to have helped raise her primary market prices. Rines says she worked to direct responsible collectors to the secondary market to mitigate the damage.
Meanwhile, Weyant toiled to ready her first solo show at Gagosian so there would be new work on the primary market. “I don’t know if I should admit that, but what I thought was: I have so much old work that I don’t stand behind, and that’s how people are assessing me. Based on paintings I made when I was 23. So I want to make new work I can get behind.”