With large buildings, curators and publishing arms, commercial art galleries are increasingly matching museums in their scale and ambition, reports James Tarmy.
When Hauser & Wirth opens its 36,000-square-foot flagship art gallery on West 22nd Street in New York next spring, it will be larger than the Parrish Art Museum’s new home in the Hamptons, widely considered one of the most gracious museums of the past decade. The David Zwirner gallery already has 30,000 square feet on West 20th Street, but it’s building an additional 50,000 square feet of exhibition space nearby—the same as the Whitney Museum of American Art a few blocks away. Gagosian’s 24th Street space just expanded to 33,900 square feet.
There have been larger galleries in the past, but never before have so many reached museum size. Not a single space in Chelsea had cracked 30,000 square feet 15 years ago. And this handful of art dealers in the Manhattan neighborhood are emulating museums in ways that go beyond square footage: Hauser & Wirth will have a bar; Pace Gallery (75,000 square feet, 22% devoted to exhibitions) has a performance space with an events schedule to go with it. Each has begun to aggressively hire museum curators to work on sales or programming. And each has a book publishing arm...Keep reading on Bloomberg