Arts & Culture

The Welcoming Committee: Benjamin Deaton and Anna Scott K. Masten

A pair of young gallerists brings the global art scene to the heart of Atlanta

A man and woman stand in an art gallery in front of a red and black painting


In their Atlanta gallery, Masten and Deaton pause beside the painting Latebloomer’s Last Call for Drinks at Fantasy II in Exile, 2021, by Jacob Todd Broussard.

While New York and Los Angeles have long been the epicenters of the contemporary American art trade, Atlanta is making a strong case for joining that list. One combined force shifting attentions south: Benjamin Deaton and Anna Scott K. Masten, who, just one year after opening Wolfgang Gallery in Atlanta’s West Midtown neighborhood, have attracted artists and collectors from those hubs and beyond. Located in a bright 3,800-square-foot space inside a century-old former lumber mill, Wolfgang counts among its roster of rising stars the Richmond-based, Yale MFA painting grad Jacob Todd Broussard and the Brooklyn figurative painter Jay Miriam.

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Much of Wolfgang’s early success has resulted not only from its emphasis on cutting-edge artists, but also from its charismatic young owners, who met on the job in Atlanta’s gallery scene. They are a study in opposites: Masten grew up learning from her father, a former Atlanta art dealer, and is now a risk-taker with a vivacious edge. “I could talk to a brick wall,” she admits. Deaton, a native of LaGrange, Georgia, with a background in photography, has a gentle Southern drawl and a laid-back demeanor.

But they share a warm sense of hospitality: “We interact with everyone as if they’re our family,” Deaton says. When a visiting artist exhibits with Wolfgang, the pair compiles a care package—snacks, passes to the High Museum, a bottle of wine—and invites them to offer tours of their shows and give lectures, allowing space for audiences to connect more deeply with each creator.

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“Their vibe is to not be pretentious or bring an air of inaccessibility,” says the Atlanta multimedia artist Lloyd Benjamin, who has shown his paintings and sculptures at Wolfgang several times. He says he admires the ways Masten and Deaton bolster their artists’ careers by fostering connections with galleries outside Atlanta, such as Sargent’s Daughters in New York and Los Angeles.

This spring, they’ll welcome the British painter Stephen Thorpe, whose work situates Audubon-inspired birds—roseate spoonbills, egrets—inside jewel-toned rooms adorned with depictions of Oriental rugs. The works marry nature and culture, serendipity and refinement—a fitting match for Wolfgang’s own juxtapositions.

Read more about the South’s new slate of artists, curators, preservationists, movers, and makers in Art’s Rising Vanguard.