Arne Glimcher complained that increasing trade tensions and a new culture of austerity under Xi Jingping have made maintaining a gallery in Beijing difficult when he announced the closure of Pace’s outpost in the 798 Arts District. The South China Morning Post‘s Enid Tsui takes the matter one step further with these comments from Pascal de Sarthe who has galleries in Paris, Hong Kong and now just a sales office in Beijing:
“In August last year, we were forced out of our Beijing gallery space in Caochangdi, one of the two main gallery districts in the city.
“This allowed us to rethink how to do business in China and ultimately led us to the same conclusion as Pace – to operate only a private viewing room while maintaining our team, instead of reopening a new gallery space.”
“We should ask ourselves, are galleries – as a business model – obsolete in this environment?” he added.
De Sarthe said restrictions on the flows of money, and high import and sales taxes, had already “reduced tremendously” the secondary market in China for modern and post-war art by Western and Chinese artists.