Kelly Crow’s gallery trend piece in today’s Wall Street Journal has some finger pointing in it as gallerists claim the trend toward massive spaces was driven by their artists and artists demur that it comes from the galleries. But slid into the story is a more important observation that galleries are now creating facilities that replicate a museum setting, blurring the lines between profit-oriented and educational institutions:
For their part, dealers say they had to expand their gallery footprints because their artists asked for more room to display ambitious pieces. To remain competitive—and keep their stars from defecting to rivals—dealers had little choice but to keep pace, said Emanuel Aguilar, a director at Chicago’s Kavi Gupta Gallery. […]
Tim Marlow, a director at White Cube, says the phenomenon is “artist-led, and the market is following.”
In classic chicken-or-the-egg fashion, some artists said they could take or leave the extra room but said their dealers were opening bigger spaces to entice additional artists—and collectors. […]
Like museums, some gallery spaces now boast auditoriums, screening rooms, roof gardens and bookstores. Shows at the dozen biggest galleries are often planned two years in advance and can take more than a month to install. Once up, the art may also stay on view for several months at a time, a typical time frame for a museum exhibit but a fresh stretch for a gallery setting more accustomed to opening new shows monthly.