Friday, August 30, 2013

World’s ‘super galleries’

  • White Cube caused a stir nearly two years ago when it opened a 58,000 square-foot gallery in south London. That's bigger than a football field, reports Kelly Crow in an elaborate news report in The WSJ.
  • Swiss gallery Hauser & Wirth earlier this year converted a former roller rink and nightclub in New York's Chelsea neighborhood into a 24,700 square-foot gallery - complete with an artist-designed bar serving free coffee on weekends. "We don't need to sell coffee," said director Marc Payot.
  • Austrian dealer Thaddaeus Ropac opened the world's second-largest gallery last October when he transformed a group of eight factory buildings on Paris's outskirts into a 50,000 square-foot art complex. The $10 million space has allowed him to carve up areas for performance art and outfit several apartments for visiting artists like Anselm Kiefer.
  • Recently, Mr. Ropac realized that his artists didn't want to use the complex's studio for fear of attracting onlookers, so he's rented even more space a few blocks away. "I don't want my artists to feel like they're in a zoo," he said.
  • New York dealer Larry Gagosian, among the first to champion this supersize-gallery model, is also known for showing big artworks to match. His two biggest galleries in New York are closed for the next six weeks—right through the opening of the fall season—because one of his artists, sculptor Richard Serra, requires that much time just to install his show that is opening in October.
  • Sotheby's specialist Alex Rotter has been quoted as saying in The WSJ article that he credits these 'super galleries' for convincing newer collectors to buy extra-large art. Mr. Rotter, who helps oversee Sotheby's in-house galleries S2, said he's also learning firsthand that some artworks look, and fare, better in vast concrete surroundings than others. "For Richard Serra, it's not hard to fill a space," he said, "but if you give 5,000 square feet to someone else, there's a chance some of it will feel like filler—not all of it is good."

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