The Powerhouse That Is Gagosian Gallery
Tags: Economics, Gagosian, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Tate Modern
Gagosian Gallery is aggressively extending its presence in the world with the opening of two new galleries in the upcoming months: a temporary gallery in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that will coincide with ArtRio (Sept 12-16); and a Jean Nouvel-designed space at Le Bourget, the airport for private planes near Paris.
Gagosian is already established in 8 cities worldwide: New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Geneva, Rome, Athens and Hong Kong. With the addition of these two new spaces, all thirteen galleries will measure an estimated 153,047 sq. ft. That figure tops the Tate Modern, which boasts 145,313 sq. ft of gallery space, including the new Tanks addition.
The increased Gagosian global presence challenges the opinions that the traditional gallery model is declining in popularity in the wake of online sales and fairs. Economist Dan Thompson, author of The $12 Million Stuffed Shark, cites physical gallery space as actually being beneficial for fair performance:
“A number of galleries are now getting 60% to 70% of their annual sales through art fairs, and that requires size and scale: you need more people, more artists, more money.”
He estimates the total rent cost of the 12 worldwide galleries (excluding the Chelsea space, which was purchased in 1999 for a reported $5.75 million) to be $11.4 million. He also estimates that Gagosian brings in an annual $1.1 billion, or $20 million a week, meaning that any given week they are almost doubling their annual real estate costs.
While some skeptics worry about the pressures of production this increase will have on its artists, Larry Gagosian emphasizes the alternative:
“I can’t imagine that any serious gallery would demand that artists produce more work to cover the gallery’s overhead[s]. We certainly do not. The gallery’s profitability has more than kept pace with our expansion.”
[via The Art Newspaper]
Photo courtesy of; Graph courtesy of TAN