Apr 18, 2018

A group of artists accused CB1 gallery in Los Angeles of systematically failing to pay them for sold work.

In an open letter titled “artists versus CB1 Gallery” published Tuesday, nine artists accused co-owners Clyde Beswick and Jason Chang of a myriad of misdeeds that caused “financial damage and extensive harm to the studio practices among the community they supposedly foster.” They assert the gallery failed to adhere to contract terms, failed to pay owed funds even after legal judgment, wrote checks that bounced, and sold work without telling the artists. “We are working hard to resolve any and all issues with the artists whose work we have shown,” Beswick told ARTnews, though he did not respond to specific allegations detailed by two artists—Michael Mancari and Ain Cocke—who said the gallery never paid out thousands of dollars they were owed from work sold by the gallery, including from transactions dating back as many as two years. This is not the first accusation of financial impropriety leveled against Beswick, who spent 13 months in jail and state prison after being convicted for embezzlement and filing false tax returns in the 1990s, according to a 2015 Los Angeles Times article that chronicled his “rise and fall and rise again.” After serving his time, Beswick opened CB1 Gallery in 2010, promising that he was a “better person” for the experience.