Art Dirt: Gavin Brown, Barbara Gladstone & the Future of Galleries

by Glasstire August 2, 2020
Martin Creed Everything is going to be alright artwork

Martin Creed’s Work No. 1086: Everything is Going to be Alright (2011) at Hauser & Wirth Somerset. © Martin Creed. All Rights Reserved; DACS; Photo: Jamie Woodley

Christina Rees and Brandon Zech discuss a recent shakeup in the New York gallery scene and how the pandemic will affect art galleries long term.

“It’s hard not to believe that about 30% or more of galleries will be gone by this time next year.”

“They’ll either be gone, or they’ll be some sort of shell of their former selves.”

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Related reading:
Glasstire: Redefining the Gallery
Glasstire: Art Dirt: What Can Galleries Do For Artists In 2019?
Glasstire: American Alliance of Museums Survey Points to Permanent Museum Closures Nationwide
artnet: Why Gavin Brown’s Move to Gladstone Suggests New York Galleries Are Worse Off Than We Thought (and Other Insights)
artnet: Taste-Making Dealer Gavin Brown Will Join Gladstone Gallery as a Partner, Ending the Decades-Long Run of His Rebel Art ‘Enterprise’
NYTimes: Gavin Brown Closes His Gallery and Joins Forces With Barbara Gladstone
Vulture: What Is Lost With the Closing of Gavin Brown’s Enterprise
Glasstire: SMU DataArts & TRG Arts: COVID-19 Sector Benchmark Dashboard
ADAA: U.S. Art Galleries Project 73% Loss in Second Quarter Revenue Due to COVID-19 Developments
Art Basel: The Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report 2019
ARTnews: Pace Gallery Lays Off Employees Amid Financial Slump
ARTnews: Projecting 30 Percent Sales Drop, David Zwirner Lays Off Nearly 40 Employees


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VLM (Virginia Lee Montgomery) August 2, 2020 - 10:03

Really enjoyed this podcast! IMHO, the closing of Gavin Brown is more reflective of the changing landscape of art market economics in terms of its collector base… Today’s wealth is growing in economic areas of tech, ie. Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, etc., and alas tech as a business sector doesn’t carry a rich culture of collecting art… As problematic as finance and energy are as big economic industries, the collector base associated with each has a history of collecting art, no? Anyway, I wish everyone with the economic means to support artists and galleries would do so! And finally, I’m a video artist (and as we all know, collectors tend to collect paintings over video art…), so I don’t have much of a metaphorical ‘horse’ in the moneyed collecting race, but thought I’d throw my 2 cents in the conversation regarding collecting dynamics based off of my time around NYC art gallery scene. So, if anyone reading this knows some one in tech with deep pockets, encourage them to collect art! Support the arts (especially in Texas)! Love your work as always Glasstire and big howdy from Houston, VLM

Col August 2, 2020 - 16:18

A little googling reveals Tech giants and their companies already support the arts

Facebook art collections

“Facebook has served as a patron for the arts since its beginning days. In 2005, graffiti artist David Choe was invited by then-president Sean Parker to paint murals on the walls of Facebook’s first offices in Palo Alto, accepting payment in the form of stock options, valued at roughly $200 million at the time of the company’s initial public offering in 2012. In 2007, this time at the request of Mark Zuckerberg, Choe returned to decorate Facebook’s new Menlo Park campus—and even Zuckerberg’s laptop.”

Facebook artist in residence

Amazon artists in residence program

Jeff Bezos art collector

Adobe artist in residence program

They even support digital art

Announcing the new Creative Residency Community Fund.
The Adobe Creative Residency program is launching a $1M Community Fund to support creators of visual digital work. We’ll offer grants of $500–$5,000USD for either a portfolio project or a paid Adobe project commission. The program will run for 12 months starting May 2020, and we’ll be giving grants and commissioning work each month.

Elon Musk sent artwork into space and collects art work

Virginia Lee Montgomery August 7, 2020 - 15:37

Ah. Let me know when you see tech giants like Amazon actively cruising around the Dallas Art Fair or NADA New York to support emerging artists or going to local curatorial lectures. I personally would love to see Jeff Bezos invest time in the art community and to see him collect some non-painting and new genres artwork by emerging intersectional, women identified artists. 🙂

Robert Boyd August 2, 2020 - 15:00

Christina, you suggested that if the mid-tier galleries go under, that the art world would be bifurcated into a blue-chip art world and a scrappy regional art-space world. I would say that that is how the art world looks right now. To me, it is impossible to reconcile, say, Civic TV and David Zwirmer. The only thing they have in common is that they are involved with art. Otherwise, their worlds are totally separate.

I remember listening to a Felix Salmon podcast where he opined that while it might have been possible once for a prosperous dentist to be an art collector, now that was impossible. But when I heard that, I heard him saying it was impossible for the proverbial art-loving dentist to enter the blue chip world of New York art. But as we all well know, art in Texas is entirely accessible to middle-class collectors. Why? Because there are two different art worlds.

Missy Finger August 2, 2020 - 17:12

Thank you for addressing the situation of art galleries, from the ‘Blue Chip’ to the local small galleries. This is more serious than the 2008 Recession by far. Like all small businesses in America right now, many will survive, but a (larger than we can estimate) percentage will collapse. The rich get richer…and eat up the small mom and pop stores. Frightening for the gallerists and the artist they faithfully represent. As a gallery owner in Dallas for 25 years, this has been an unprecedented time. Although we have support in Dallas area and on online, I don’t know what lies ahead. The unknown is stressful. All we can do is out best each day and see what unfolds. The most important thing for us is to keep healthy and safe so we can manage through day to day operations. We are all in this together, and everyone needs support from one another. Thanks again for addressing this subject. Peace.

Julie Speed August 4, 2020 - 11:04

Really interesting discussion! If/when more galleries consolidate that means each remaining gallery will have more artists on their roster meaning each individual artist gets less % of the gallery’s time/money….. less solo shows, art fairs, catalogs etc in return for the
standard 50/50% split. What’s that going to mean for artists?


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