Back in 2016, the arrival of mega-gallery Gagosian in San Francisco was deemed a sign that Silicon Valley’s art market was heating up. Four years later, however, the gallery has officially closed the space, which was located a stone’s throw from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
“To consolidate and strengthen Gagosian’s presence in California, we are concentrating our efforts based in Los Angeles, for the time being,” a spokesperson told Midnight Publishing Group News.
The confirmation follows a December 31 report in the San Francisco Chronicle that the gallery’s phone had been disconnected, its signage had been removed, and the branch information had been removed from Gagosian’s website.
This is not the first blue-chip gallery to close an outpost during the lockdown era. In October, Marian Goodman announced she would shutter her London space after six years.
Gagosian—the largest art gallery in the world—continues to operate 15 other spaces in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Rome, Athens, Geneva, and Hong Kong.
At the time of the San Francisco gallery’s launch, SFMOMA had just reopened after a major overhaul, focusing the art world’s attention on the city. “This makes sense with the new museum opening and with the emerging collector base in Silicon Valley,” Larry Gagosian told SF Gate at the time. The inaugural show featured work by Cy Twombly, Richard Serra, Jasper Johns, and Pablo Picasso.
While Gagosian is now downsizing in San Francisco, it is expanding in Los Angeles. This past summer, the gallery extended his footprint in the city by taking over part of the shuttered Marciano Museum, a 90,000-square foot former masonic temple on Wilshire Boulevard. (The private museum founded by fashion moguls Paul and Maurice Marciano permanently shuttered this past February, shortly after workers there voted to unionize.) Gagosian also operates a gallery in nearby Beverly Hills.
The San Francisco gallery’s final exhibition was a show of work by the late Bay Area artist Jay DeFeo. “We felt a great amount of support from local collectors, institutions, and the public,” the space’s co-director Kelly Huang told Midnight Publishing Group News. By offering programming that might be more typical of New York and Los Angeles, she added, “Gagosian helped expand access to contemporary art in the Bay Area.”
Huang, who worked as an art advisor for roughly a decade before joining the gallery, is now planning to launch her own art advisory firm, KCH Advisory. She remains bullish on the notion that the city is fertile ground for the art market to develop. “There is a growing, active, and engaged client base in San Francisco,” she said, “and it reflects the huge potential for the next generation of collectors here.”
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