We're sorry, but this Website doesn't work properly without JavaScript enabled.

WHAT IS LOST WITH THE CLOSING OF GAVIN BROWN'S ENTERPRISE

Jerry Saltz - vulture.com            / July 23, 2020

Photo: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic/Getty Image

“Barbara Gladstone rescued a beautiful dying species in order to become immortal.” So wrote curator-painter Francesco Bonami in an email last week, upon hearing that the internationally respected (yet still somehow underground) New York gallerist Gavin Brown, 56, was closing his gallery and becoming partners with Gladstone, 84, and her semi-mega New York gallery. It’s hard to map what the merging of two such important pre-COVID-19 galleries might mean in a post-COVID-19 world. But shock waves ripped through the New York art world on Monday when it was announced. It shook me — even as things seemed to be shrinking, this felt big.

Let’s start with what was lost. First, the gallery itself. Brown burst onto the scene in late 1993 when he rented Room 828 in the Chelsea Hotel to stage a show of the drawings of then-unknown 27-year-old Elizabeth Peyton. One went to the lobby, asked for the key, signed in, went upstairs, unlocked the door, and saw the show alone. The event lasted two weeks; around 50 people came. I was one of them. I remember how great it was, in that recessionary AIDS art world, to feel such new energy brewing. A friend told me he and his boyfriend had sex in that room; bands heard about the space and practiced there; parties happened. Nothing was stolen or damaged. Even if you didn’t like the work, a new freedom felt afoot here and elsewhere, including at similar events in London, Berlin, and Tokyo. A new band of artists, curators, gallerists, critics, magazines, collectors, and art fairs took the stage. It was as beautiful as it was desperate.

Six months later, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise opened in a teeny storefront gallery just steps from the Holland Tunnel. Brown represented Peyton and then-unknown soon-to-be superstars like Peter Doig, Chris Ofili, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Jake and Dinos Chapman, and others. Since then, he’s discovered and shown numerous artists, including Arthur Jaffa, Urs Fischer, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Martin Creed. He has reinvented himself many times, served free food to visitors, opened a bar in the gallery; he’s always moving. Soon, he moved to a meatpacking place on LeRoy Street. When the rest of the art world doubled down in Chelsea or decamped to the Lower East Side in the mid-2010s, Brown rented and renovated four floors of an enormous old brewery in Harlem. We can only imagine the costs of all this for a gallerist whose sales were never as high as other spaces his size.

Brown is a special case in a class of special-case galleries and artists that emerged in the 1990s. He famously didn’t make studio visits and relied instead on listening to his artists. His gallery felt cultish — a cool kid’s club anyone could gain admission to if they had enough punk-bohemian allure. There were a lot of crazy people doing crazy things, which kept the gallery grounded in an older, more romantic idea of what the art world used to be. It was less like Warhol than his Factory. Amid the incredible success that came to this generation of new artists and dealers, Brown’s gallery sent a message of false positivity that said, “See, we can keep our underground cred while cashing in, making money, getting famous, traveling the world, starting new art fairs, and dominating biennials.” Collectors, artists, critics, curators — the whole art world bought into this. Of course, this couldn’t have been sustainable; we aren’t having it both ways. The players might have been “pure,” but the outcome only got more moneyed, hyped, gigantic, and inflated. A lot of great art happened — but so did a lot of bloat. For a little longer than all the others, Brown gave visitors the wonderful feeling that broke nobodies could make it in this world. But size and money displaced all that. Brown had to sell almost everything he had to renovate the Harlem space. Meanwhile, in an Instagram world where gallery foot traffic was already shrinking to a trickle, moving to 127th Street meant that many people in the art world — especially younger generations of critics — weren’t even making it up to his gallery. Great shows went unseen. Maybe unsold, I don’t know. Either way, making a radical move uptown in an art world that is no longer radical was, presumably, a bad decision and may have helped drive him to this point. The megagallery cash machine siphoned off his artists (Peyton had already decamped to Gladstone) the same way it did everyone’s artists. COVID-19 only revealed another fault line that had already been present before it arrived. Like other great old secret art world gardens that now hang in the balance, this one could not survive it.

Gladstone, meanwhile, has been a force in different guises since the 1970s. She has partnered with various people and galleries — eventually leaving and going her own way again. She staged Matthew Barney’s first New York solo show in 1991 and has since helped debut many international artists in the U.S. I had my work in Gladstone’s 57th Street space when I was a would-be artist (long story). That Barney show, though, was key to her development. While Gladstone was always respected, by the time Barney joined her gallery — after his own fledgling gallerist, Clarissa Dalrymple, closed the space she was running — she was a step behind the newer energies of the 1990s. Barney changed that overnight, and Gladstone has been a world force ever since — owning her own Chelsea space, teaming up with other gallerists along the way, and operating spaces in Brussels and on 21st Street. She has always tinkered with her stable with mixed results. Today, she is among the best gallerists anywhere.

I’ve known these two — Gavin Brown and Barbara Gladstone — almost my whole art life, so I’m an unreliable narrator. Offhand, we may say that she’s gone through several incarnations, seen artists come and go, always adapts, and currently represents a stellar stable of artists. He’s a singular visionary I might not let near a checkbook. I love that he may be on the front lines going forward. Either way, with numbers of great gallerists in their 70s and 80s — among them Marian Goodman, Paula Cooper, and Larry Gagosian — this partnering seems to guarantee that one of them, in this case the Gladstone Gallery, will survive. Perhaps these two great gallerists were long-distance swimmers finally tiring. I want this to work, but who knows these days. If Brown left, would his ten artists remain? All these are questions for another day.

What this merging might mean for the bigger picture, however, is also not clear. The brilliant writer Kenny Schachter wrote to me: “This is the harbinger of unprecedented gallery consolidations and closures far outpacing the retrenchment after the 2008 financial collapse.” As for Brown, he writes: “Gavin made a few unfortunate mistakes”—the uptown move—“that cost him his autonomy. I love him but it may be arrogance for him to think ‘my minions will follow me to the end of the earth … and throw their money at me like blind adherents to Scientology.’”

Let’s take stock. Right now, given America’s disastrous mismanagement of the coronavirus, galleries that were hoping to be open in June or July are now facing the prospect that this semi-shutdown may extend indefinitely (especially with flu season approaching). Those that got PPP loans have now gone through them; those that didn’t are hurting worse. Galleries that were on their knees already are negotiating rent relief for spaces in buildings they primarily don’t own, working out payment plans with storage and shipping companies, and laboring remotely every day to eke out sales under near-impossible conditions. It’s a delusion to imagine that in this country we might all soon return to pre-COVID-19 normal. That “normal” wasn’t even normal in February, and it’s already gone. But this isn’t the closing of a gallery that everyone imagined was on shaking foundation — it’s the closing of a gallery that was, in a profound way, the very self-image of the contemporary art world. People might wonder, If Gavin can’t survive then who can? What can? In which form? At what cost? Why?

The resulting shakeout is likely to widen the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. For a while — thanks in part to Gavin and Barbara — we allowed ourselves to think there were more categories and kinds of galleries. But it was lunacy to call galleries like Gladstone, 303, Bonakdar, Petzel, Kreps, and Bortolami “mid-tier” or “middle-sized.” Only the gigantism of the handful of worldwide megagalleries — some great, others only okay or one-stop-shopping, big-box stores — made it seem so. Sadly, the market (and many others) subscribed to this delusion. Money and attention were unequally heaped upon this upper strata of megaoperations.

Meanwhile, artists represented by the aforementioned galleries followed the honey scent of bigness and money to the bigger galleries (and they may continue to do so now with money growing tighter by the hour). Those mid-tier galleries are in the business of risk and discovery. Most of the megas don’t so much produce culture as consume it. All this has exacerbated the system’s preexisting crises — obscene prices, auctions, nonstop travel, hype, and continuous art fairs; everything was out of whack, top heavy, sick. Even today, in our shutdown world, it galls and astonishes me that much of the online coverage of galleries is devoted primarily to megagalleries. We see lists of what sold in online auction; prices are touted. Stories tend to be about either unknown or (mostly) ultrafamous artists — all this with very little actual criticism, and almost nothing that isn’t said to be “good.”

Are mergers an answer? Can galleries like 303 and Bonakdar, for example, merge? Or can a larger gallerist like Paula Cooper or Jeannie Greenberg Rohatyn partner with someone like Kreps, Bortolami, Miguel Abreu, Metro Pictures, Luhring Augustine, James Cohan, or Sikkema Jenkins? What’s the upside (apart from becoming another “beautiful dying species”)? Those partnerships only mean that money is consolidated, more artists are left without galleries, and people who work at galleries will be out of jobs, on the ropes. This is why I don’t want to believe that Gladstone-Brown represents a wave of the future, and also why — as much as I love and admire them both— I wish it weren’t happening. Maybe Gagosian or Hauser & Wirth, already galleries the sun never sets on, will absorb or “partner” with some of those other spaces — but to what end? Maybe we’ll all work for them. But work at what? Why? These sorts of moves make those galleries seem like dinosaurs, even if they’re the ones that find a way to survive.

Comments
ART
THE ART ANGLE PODCAST: AI WEIWEI ON THE CORONAVIRUS, CHINA, AND ART'S NEW ROLE
THE ART ANGLE PODCAST: AI WEIWEI ON THE CORONAVIRUS, CHINA, AND ART'S NEW ROLE

 On this week's episode, the international artist and outspoken activist weighs in on geopolitics and art's role in a crisis. Artnet News, April 23, 2020 Welcome to the Art Angle, a podcast from Artnet News that delves into the places where the art world

HELSINKI BIENNIAL: THE SAME SEA
HELSINKI BIENNIAL: THE SAME SEA

Margaret and Christine Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring, Coral Forest at Lehigh University Arts Galleries (PA). Photo courtesy LUAG by Stephanie Veto.  Helsinki BiennialThe Same SeaJune 12September 27, 2020 www.helsinkibiennial.fiFacebook

HUANG JIANCHENG - MECHANICAL MANUSCRIPTS
HUANG JIANCHENG - MECHANICAL MANUSCRIPTS

We Exhibit Elena Pagliaricci elena.p@weexhibit.biz Opening: 20 March 2019, 3pm 20 March 2019 - 17 April 2019 Opening times: Tue - Sun 10am - 6pm Museo Diocesano Sala Ss. Filippo e Giacomo Castello 4312 30122, Venice   ©  Huang Jiancheng   Mechanical

HOW CAN I START MY OWN ART COLLECTION?
HOW CAN I START MY OWN ART COLLECTION?

Imagen de portada e inicio: Obra de Regina Galindo, Miami Art Basel 2018. In order to begin collecting art, there are various things we need to be clear on; we need research and work out exactly what type of collection we want and how we want to approach

OIL AND WATER
OIL AND WATER

Whether it's down to ease or simply not having the time. Some artists, when starting a work of art on a primed canvas, do not dedicate enough time to finding and using the proper tools as a foundation. A common mistake is buying the same fabric for both a

Soave chair
SOAVE CHAIR
Efi S chair
EFI S CHAIR
Uma Chair
UMA CHAIR
Pipo Chair
PIPO CHAIR
HIGHLIGHTS
CHAIR TIMES
CHAIR TIMES
THE ART ANGLE PODCAST: AI WEIWEI ON THE CORONAVIRUS, CHINA, AND ART'S NEW ROLE
THE ART ANGLE PODCAST: AI WEIWEI ON THE CORONAVIRUS, CHINA, AND ART'S NEW ROLE
VISUALS REVEALED OF EIGHT ARCHITECTS' GREENWICH DESIGN DISTRICT BUILDINGS
VISUALS REVEALED OF EIGHT ARCHITECTS' GREENWICH DESIGN DISTRICT BUILDINGS
HELSINKI BIENNIAL: THE SAME SEA
HELSINKI BIENNIAL: THE SAME SEA
ART
SUBSCRIBE
DEALERS

POLÍTICA DE PRIVACIDAD

La presente Política de Privacidad establece los términos en que Arte por Excelencias usa y protege la información que es proporcionada por sus usuarios al momento de utilizar su sitio web. Esta compañía está comprometida con la seguridad de los datos de sus usuarios. Cuando le pedimos llenar los campos de información personal con la cual usted pueda ser identificado, lo hacemos asegurando que sólo se empleará de acuerdo con los términos de este documento. Sin embargo esta Política de Privacidad puede cambiar con el tiempo o ser actualizada por lo que le recomendamos y enfatizamos revisar continuamente esta página para asegurarse que está de acuerdo con dichos cambios.

Información que es recogida

Nuestro sitio web podrá recoger información personal por ejemplo: Nombre, información de contacto como su dirección de correo electrónica e información demográfica. Así mismo cuando sea necesario podrá ser requerida información específica para procesar algún pedido o realizar una entrega o facturación.

Uso de la información recogida

Nuestro sitio web emplea la información con el fin de proporcionar el mejor servicio posible, particularmente para mantener un registro de usuarios, de pedidos en caso que aplique, y mejorar nuestros productos y servicios. Es posible que sean enviados correos electrónicos periódicamente a través de nuestro sitio con ofertas especiales, nuevos productos y otra información publicitaria que consideremos relevante para usted o que pueda brindarle algún beneficio, estos correos electrónicos serán enviados a la dirección que usted proporcione y podrán ser cancelados en cualquier momento.

Arte por Excelencias está altamente comprometido para cumplir con el compromiso de mantener su información segura. Usamos los sistemas más avanzados y los actualizamos constantemente para asegurarnos que no exista ningún acceso no autorizado.

Cookies

Una cookie se refiere a un fichero que es enviado con la finalidad de solicitar permiso para almacenarse en su ordenador, al aceptar dicho fichero se crea y la cookie sirve entonces para tener información respecto al tráfico web, y también facilita las futuras visitas a una web recurrente. Otra función que tienen las cookies es que con ellas las web pueden reconocerte individualmente y por tanto brindarte el mejor servicio personalizado de su web.

Nuestro sitio web emplea las cookies para poder identificar las páginas que son visitadas y su frecuencia. Esta información es empleada únicamente para análisis estadístico y después la información se elimina de forma permanente. Usted puede eliminar las cookies en cualquier momento desde su ordenador. Sin embargo las cookies ayudan a proporcionar un mejor servicio de los sitios web, estas no dan acceso a información de su ordenador ni de usted, a menos de que usted así lo quiera y la proporcione directamente.

Usted puede aceptar o negar el uso de cookies, sin embargo la mayoría de navegadores aceptan cookies automáticamente pues sirve para tener un mejor servicio web. También usted puede cambiar la configuración de su ordenador para declinar las cookies. Si se declinan es posible que no pueda utilizar algunos de nuestros servicios.

Enlaces a Terceros

Este sitio web pudiera contener en laces a otros sitios que pudieran ser de su interés. Una vez que usted de clic en estos enlaces y abandone nuestra página, ya no tenemos control sobre al sitio al que es redirigido y por lo tanto no somos responsables de los términos o privacidad ni de la protección de sus datos en esos otros sitios terceros. Dichos sitios están sujetos a sus propias políticas de privacidad por lo cual es recomendable que los consulte para confirmar que usted está de acuerdo con estas.

Control de su información personal

En cualquier momento usted puede restringir la recopilación o el uso de la información personal que es proporcionada a nuestro sitio web. Cada vez que se le solicite rellenar un formulario, como el de alta de usuario, puede marcar o desmarcar la opción de recibir información por correo electrónico. En caso de que haya marcado la opción de recibir nuestro boletín o publicidad usted puede cancelarla en cualquier momento.

Esta compañía no venderá, cederá ni distribuirá la información personal que es recopilada sin su consentimiento, salvo que sea requerido por un juez con un orden judicial.

PIEGATTO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED    |    15 CALLE 7-41 ZONA 10 GUATEMALA, C. A. 01010    |    T (+502) 23 66 33 77    |    POLÍTICA DE PRIVACIDAD
PIEGATTO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
15 CALLE 7-41 ZONA 10 GUATEMALA,
C. A. 01010    |    T (+502) 23 66 33 77