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Arne Glimcher, Artist? The Pace Patriarch Sold a Photograph He Took of His Dog, Max, at the Gallery’s Summer Staff Show


Ah, the summer staff show. It’s a beloved tradition. Every year, as all the VICs (very important collectors) scuttle away to the Hamptons, dealers across New York turn to their employees and say, “Hey, you guys are artists, right? Maybe we should do a group show?”

Some version of that conversation is what brought us “Atmospheres” (through August 20), Pace New York’s humble nod to its staffers’ many creative talents.

The exhibition presents works by nearly 90 Pace employees and contractors from around the world, including examples by Robert John Hodge (an archivist in London), Paul Paillet (an art handler in Geneva), and Natalja Kent (a freelance photographer in Los Angeles). Most of the artists, however, live and work in New York—including one who’s not quite an employee.

I’m speaking, you already know, of Arne Glimcher, the gallery’s founder who established the business way back in 1960 in Boston before relocating it to New York three years later.

Arne Glimcher's photograph of his dog sold for a cool $250 (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation)

Arne Glimcher’s photograph of his dog sold for a cool $250 (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation)

Arne’s contribution to the show is a sight to behold: a lovely little photographic portrait of his dog, Max, a gray schnauzer, covered in a gray blanket that makes him look like a canine Joseph Beuys.

By now, you likely know that Arne’s a filmmaker (he directed Mambo Kings in 1992 and Just Cause three years later), so it probably comes as no surprise that he’s comfortable behind the camera.

But did you also know that his current work revolves around gardening and writing, according to his bio on the website for “Atmospheres”? That was news to me.

All the works in the staff show are for sale, and range from just a few hundred dollars ($225 for Nancy Rattenbury’s black-and-white picture of a lampshade, which comes matted and framed) to five figures (Corey Escoto is selling a bronze sculpture of two hands for $12,000).

Arne’s print, which already found a buyer according to the gallery, is a steal: just $250. And if you’re wondering, the money doesn’t go straight into his wallet. According to the gallery, it went to a charity of the collector’s choice. All they had to do was provide receipt of their donation, and the print was theirs.

Glimcher could not be reached immediately for comment.

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Get an Exclusive Look at the Totally Wacky NFTs Urs Fischer Is About to Sell Through Pace (And Do Your Best to Make Sense of Them)


Next week, half a dozen newly minted NFTs by artist Urs Fischer will go on view in a digital exhibition hosted by Pace, another step in the gallery’s full-fledged commitment to crypto-art.  

The show, presented in collaboration with the Loïc Gouzer-founded Fair Warning auction app and the digital market platform MakersPlace, will live on Pace’s website. 

Each of Fisher’s NFTs features two quotidian objects floating in a blank white space like a trippy screensaver, constantly converging with one another to form Frankensteinian compound-sculptures: a broccoli stalk bisecting a green sponge, a showerhead merging with a red Nike shoe. Weird stuff. 

The works belong to “CHAOS,” a larger series of 501 NFTs produced by the Swiss artist.

For buyers, each piece comes with a reference rendering, access to the raw data behind the visuals, and instructions for how to exhibit it.

“The individual objects selected for ‘CHAOS’ are engineered, cultured, or manufactured by humans and sourced from the physical world and transformed into a 3D digital model through 3D scanning,” the project’s website explains. They’ll be offered up for $50,000 a pop, according to the gallery. 

The artist will offset the carbon emissions involved in the minting of each work through a partnership with the nonprofit Conservation International

Urs Fischer, <i>CHAOS #23 Splendor</i> (2021). Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

Urs Fischer, CHAOS #23 Splendor (2021). Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

Fischer debuted “CHAOS” in April when he partnered with Pace to sell the first entry in the series, CHAOS #1 Human, which depicts a lighter colliding with an egg.

The work sold through Fair Warning for $97,700. (The collaboration reportedly caused a rift between the artist and his longtime dealer, Gagosian.) Pace did not disclose the prices for the new NFTs.

The first 500 “CHAOS” works will be unveiled over the course of several months. After that, a capstone 501st artwork, composed of all the objects in the pieces that came before it, will be minted. 

Among mega-galleries, Pace has been perhaps the most ardent embracer of the crypto art wave. Earlier this month, the gallery announced that it would accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment for all artworks, physical or digital. And in September, it will launch its own dedicated platform for selling artists’ NFTs.

See more examples from Fisher’s upcoming show below.

Urs Fischer, <i>CHAOS #20 Sashay</i> (2021). Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

Urs Fischer, CHAOS #20 Sashay (2021). Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

Urs Fischer, <i>CHAOS #22 Simulacrum</i> (2021). Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

Urs Fischer, CHAOS #22 Simulacrum (2021). Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

Urs Fischer, <i>CHAOS #24 Analysand</i> (2021). Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

Urs Fischer, CHAOS #24 Analysand (2021). Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

Urs Fischer, <i>CHAOS #25 Gratis</i> (2021). Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

Urs Fischer, CHAOS #25 Gratis (2021). Courtesy of Pace Gallery.

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Pace Gallery Jumps Headfirst Into the Crypto-Art Market With a Dedicated NFT Platform


Marc Glimcher, president and CEO of Pace Gallery, and among the most vocal proponents of the crypto-art market—at least among the mega-dealer set—has announced the gallery’s first dedicated platform for selling artists’ NFTs.

Due to open in September, the as-yet-unnamed platform will debut with a series of new NFTs by Lucas Samaras based on his archive of digital prints, making them the 84-year-old artist’s first foray into the medium.

The goal is not to compete with established crypto-art marketplaces such as Nifty Gateway or Rarible, Glimcher told Midnight Publishing Group News, and collaborations will be considered “on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

Instead, the platform, which will live on the gallery’s website and be overseen by Christiana Ine-Kimba Boyle, Pace’s online sales director, is intended as an outlet for Pace artists to produce and sell digital artworks while the gallery controls the price point. 

“By offering artists’ work on our own platform, we can better support them in setting appropriate prices and by managing the sales process more seamlessly than through third parties,” Glimcher said.

The impetus, he said, came in part from the gallery’s artists.

“We work with a number of artists who want to make NFTs, so building a dedicated platform where they can show their work is an obvious solution,” he said.

In April, Pace partnered with Urs Fischer on the sale of his first NFT through the auction app Fair Warning, which reportedly caused a rift between the artist and his longtime dealer, Gagosian. The artwork, a digital animation of a lighter merging with an egg, sold for $97,700.

Pace will join forces with Fischer again this month when it hosts an online exhibition of the artist’s NFTs. The show is set to go on view July 21. Later this summer, Pace will showcase an NFT project from one of its newest roster artists, Glenn Kaino.

Pace is also now accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment for all artworks, physical or digital.

“I’m a crypto person,” Glimcher told Bloomberg, which first reported the news of the NFT platform. “It’s really painless to accept crypto. It’s just: Why would you not?”

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What Is the World’s Top Mega-Gallery? We Crunched the Numbers—and No, It’s Not the One You Think


The Art Detective is a weekly column by Katya Kazakina for Midnight Publishing Group News Pro that lifts the curtain on what’s really going on in the art market.

A Patti Smith performance. A boutique hotel in a Scottish village. A Miami warehouse featuring jaw-dropping immersive installations with an admission price steeper than most U.S. museums. Book and magazine publishing. Restaurants and bars. C-suites and financial departments. 

These are just some things Gagosian, Zwirner, Pace, and Hauser & Wirth galleries do as they compete for art-world domination. Combined, the Big Four represent almost 400 artists and occupy more than 330,000 square feet (that’s almost six football fields), according to an analysis by the Art Detective. 

No longer mom-and-pop operations, art galleries are evolving into global brands, with new initiatives and branches announced weekly, it seems. As the world emerges from the pandemic, these conglomerates are forging full steam ahead to make up for a year of lost revenue—and grab market share.

Global gallery sales fell 20 percent to $29.3 billion in 2020, with the largest ones (turnover of $10 million or more) reporting the steepest decline, of 31 percent, according to the latest UBS Art Basel art market report.

But who occupies the top spot after a year of reckoning?

Larry Gagosian and Leo Castelli in 1996 in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Larry Gagosian and Leo Castelli in 1996 in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Conversations with experts and a close examination of the galleries’ growth reveal that while Gagosian, considered by many to be the industry leader, may be slowing down, there is no clear successor to take its place—yet.

“At this moment, the concept of the top gallery is almost obsolete,” said Barbara Bertozzi Castelli, art historian and widow of Leo Castelli, the top dealer of the previous era.  

Instead of a pyramid, the top of the market may become a field dominated by several powerful players, said art adviser Megan Fox Kelly. “And the metrics for measuring the top become not only about sales volume and gallery space but more about influence—who is making the greatest impact? Who is innovating effectively? Where do prominent artists most want to be?  And who is building the most effective team to support their artists and collectors?”

***

Larry Gagosian, 76, has been the undisputed leader of the past two decades, with sales topping $1 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal, and a gallery empire upon which the sun never sets. His mega-gallery model has become the template—to emulate and disrupt—for the younger generation of rivals: David Zwirner, Marc Glimcher, and Iwan and Manuela Wirth, who are all in their 50s and hungry. 

“Gagosian has been the top gallery for so long, and now it’s a little unclear,” said Natasha Degen, chair of art market studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. “It seems optically, that these other galleries looking to grow are vying for the top spot more aggressively.”

Table by Midnight Publishing Group News.

In 2014, the gap between Gagosian and the rest was vast. The gallery had 15 outposts and represented 128 artists, according to Selling Contemporary Art: How to Navigate the Evolving Market, a book by art dealer Edward Winkleman. Its closest competitor, Pace Gallery, had 8 galleries and 84 artists.

But the gap has been closing. While Gagosian still has the most exhibition space, branches, and staff, its growth has slowed down, and even reversed. The gallery currently lists 90 artists on its website, down 29 percent from seven years ago.   

Meanwhile, Gagosian’s three rivals have been in full-on expansion mode, adding artists and opening new galleries. (All four galleries declined to comment on sales and revenues.) 

Today, Pace and Hauser & Wirth both represent more artists than Gagosian, a key metric of a gallery’s success and influence. Pace leads the pack with 137 artists and estates. It recently signed Jeff Koons, the world’s most expensive living artist at auction, who had been working with Gagosian and Zwirner. 

Those who sought out representation over the past two years and didn’t end up with Gagosian include Barbara Kruger and the estate of Robert Ryman, which went to Zwirner. George Condo and Cindy Sherman chose Hauser & Wirth. 

The latter has gobbled up the most artists in the past two years—23, to be precise—including hot young painters like Avery Singer and Christina Quarles. The art world is aflutter with speculation about its heady signing bonuses ($1 million for Singer! $50 million for Condo! $100 million for Sherman!). The gallery didn’t respond to requests for comment. 

Table by Midnight Publishing Group News.

To be sure, Gagosian remains a force to be reckoned with. “He’s still probably No. 1 until there’s evidence that he isn’t,” said Don Thompson, an economist and author of two popular books about the art market.

The gallery has taken steps to address succession concerns by naming art dealer Andrew Fabricant as its chief operating officer in 2019, a role that makes him second-in-command at the gallery. But for Thompson, the question still remains: “What happens when [Gagosian] ceases his role?”

***

A similar generational shift was at play in the late 1980s when the influence of Castelli, the top dealer of the previous 25 years, was waning. Many of his artists departed and ascendant galleries such as Pace, Gagosian, and Mary Boone were vying for primacy.

Since opening his gallery in 1957, Castelli focused on discovering and nurturing American artists—Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg—and bringing them to an international audience.

“The gallery was there at the specific time when the center of the art scene moved from Paris to New York City,” said Bertozzi Castelli. “And all the artists were shown at Leo’s gallery.”

People often forget that Castelli was an artist-centered, primary market gallery, she noted. The dealer hated resales and was willing to forgo profit while partnering with other galleries to promote his artists. “He used to say that in the secondary market, any type of unethical thing could happen, and he was happy he didn’t need to do it,” Bertozzi Castelli said. 

Larry Gagosian in 1988. (Photo by Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Gagosian, who learned from Castelli, realized that there was another way. His innovation was to open his own galleries around the world and divide his focus between primary and secondary market deals. This way, he didn’t have to share the profit and benefited completely from the upside.

The model took hold in an increasingly globalized art world, but its sustainability has been the subject of fierce debate. As the pandemic struck, even Gagosian started to question the approach. He closed his San Francisco space last year (but also added programming at the former Marciano Foundation in Los Angeles).

“When things go down like this you say, ‘Jesus, Larry, do you really need all these galleries?”’ Gagosian said last year.

***

It remains unclear what the next model will be. 

One place to look for answers is the luxury sector, where a handful of companies, including Francois Pinault’s Kering and Bernard Arnault’s LVMH, have outsize influence, power, and brand recognition.

“The top three-four conglomerates take up a larger share of the market every year,” Thompson said. A similar trend is happening in the art world, where the top four galleries (as well as Sotheby’s and Christie’s) are increasing their total sales annually, he added.

Hauser & Wirth presidents Iwan and Manuela Wirth and Marc Payot. Photo courtesy of Hauser & Wirth.

Hauser & Wirth presidents Iwan and Manuela Wirth and Marc Payot. Photo courtesy of Hauser & Wirth.

Companies like Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton have transformed from their original niches (in leather goods and luggage) to global brands that are larger than any of the product lines they offer. 

“In the art world, there’s recognition that more can be done on the brand building side,” Degen said.  

***

Indeed, each gallery seems to be working to carve out its own brand identity to attract new audiences and expand the global collector base. Gagosian—who, it has been said, was the first to perfect the art of selling art to billionaires—established itself as elite, maximalist, and unabashedly luxe. For the latest installment of its livestreamed “Premieres” series, it got Patti Smith to perform in front of Gerhard Richter’s paintings.

“People know Gagosian like they know Art Basel,” Degen said. “They may not have been to the gallery, but they know the brand.”

President Bill Clinton, Ben Stiller and David Zwirner attend the Artists for Haiti dinner. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Zwirner, which has poured abundant resources into its publishing arm and robust online infrastructure, distinguished itself as perhaps the most high-minded of the bunch, while Hauser & Wirth has deep pockets, no single aesthetic, and a European sensibility. With destination locations like its art-filled hotel, The Fife Arms, in Scotland, it is the closest the gallery scene has to a lifestyle brand. Finally, the populist-leaning Pace is the most open to experimentation, having been early to court the tech community and invest in crowd-pleasing immersive art projects.

The stakes are higher for these dealers than for predecessors like Castelli because the business is global and the internet has expanded the audience for art dramatically. Exhibitions by teamLab draw millions of visitors, while artists like KAWS and Jean-Michel Basquiat are global brands themselves, more recognized than the galleries who represent them.  

teamLab’s Infinite Crystal Universe, 2015-2018. Image courtesy of Pace Gallery.

“That’s going to be the next big question in terms of the next model,” Degen said. “How do you monetize the growing interest among the wider public? And who will be the one to figure out how to do that in a way that doesn’t degrade the brand or alienate artists?”

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Artist Robert Longo Is Joining Pace Gallery After Four Decades at the Soon-to-Shutter Metro Pictures


Two months after his gallery of four decades, Metro Pictures, announced its closure, artist Robert Longo has found a new home. 

Today, Pace Gallery announced that the influential Pictures Generation artist has joined its star-studded roster. The new partnership will be christened with a solo show of Longo’s recent work this September at Pace’s flagship space on 25th Street in New York.

“The decision of where to go after showing with Metro Pictures for 40 years was a difficult one,” Longo said in a statement. “After my initial meeting with Arne and Marc [Glimcher, Pace’s founder and CEO, respectively], I immediately felt comfortable. Marc’s enthusiasm and insight into my work is inspiring.”

Marc Glimcher, in his own statement, copped to being a “Longo superfan” since 1985. The artist’s “ability to capture our generation’s worldview on paper, the way our bands captured it on vinyl, was and is unique,” he said. “Robert speaks in the language of memory, marked down in velvet in sheets of charcoal and iconographically reconstituted in brilliant black and white.” 

Longo’s work has “never been more relevant and more pressing than it is today,” Glimcher added. 

A view of Longo's studio, with <i>Untitled (Raft at Sea)</i> (2017) on view. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

A view of Longo’s studio, with Untitled (Raft at Sea) (2017) on view. Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures, New York.

Longo will continue to show with Thaddaeus Ropac, his longtime European gallery. A spokesperson from Pace said that, outside of Europe, the two galleries will “work collaboratively” to represent the artist. Already Pace and Ropac share representation of several other artists, including Adrian Ghenie, Irving Penn, and Raqib Shaw. 

In a move that surprised many, Metro Pictures co-founders Helene Winer and Janelle Reiring declared in March that they would shutter their influential gallery by the end of this year. “We have decided to announce this difficult decision far in advance of our closing in order to give the artists we represent and our staff time to pursue other options and to allow us to participate in their transitions,” the dealers said at the time.

Since then, there has been much speculation as to where the gallery’s high-profile artists—many of whom, like Longo, have shown with the gallery for decades—would relocate. Cindy Sherman joined Hauser and Wirth, as did Gary Simmons. Meanwhile, other notable names, such as Louise Lawler and John Miller, have yet to announce new representation. 

Joining Longo at Pace is Karine Haimo, a sales director at Metro Pictures who has worked closely with the artist for a number of years. Haimo will take on a senior director role in London, according to ARTnews.

Longo’s September exhibition will comprise pieces from his newest body of work, a series of large-scale charcoal drawings titled “A History of the Present.”

“What I’m doing now is the strongest work I’ve done in my life and I bring its relevance to Pace,” Longo said. “I feel a moral imperative to be an artist, especially at this time, and I am confident that Pace Gallery will support the scope of my practice. With Pace it feels like it’s going to be a whole new ballgame that I’ve been training for my entire life.” 

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