Gavin Brown Closes His Gallery and Joins Forces With Barbara Gladstone

Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, probably the most constantly provocative modern artwork galleries in Manhattan, will shut after 26 years. Its founder, the British artist-turned-dealer Gavin Brown, will develop into a associate in Gladstone Gallery, which introduced the brand new affiliation.

Gladstone will even symbolize 10 artists who confirmed with Mr. Brown’s gallery.

The closing of Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, often called G.B.E., represents essentially the most important upheaval to the New York artwork market for the reason that onset of the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in shuttered artwork areas, cratered gross sales and calamitous job losses.

The gallery, closed to the general public since March, has offered artwork in on-line viewing rooms and at digital gala’s, however these measures couldn’t offset substantial declines in income. By this summer season, with no restoration in sight, Mr. Brown determined to shut his gallery, which cast the careers of artists like Peter Doig, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Elizabeth Peyton, and which flaunted a sure rebelliousness even because it grew to become one of many extra established names within the international artwork world.

The partnership between Mr. Brown and Gladstone Gallery, based by Barbara Gladstone, was first reported by Artnet News.

When Mr. Brown lost the lease on his space on Greenwich Street, he used the occasion to restage one of Mr. Kounellis’s most renowned artworks: “12 Horses,” from 1969, featuring the horses munching hay.

Mr. Brown also ran a small artists’ bar, Passerby, with a light-up dance floor designed by the Polish artist Piotr Uklanski, which became a stamping ground for artists, curators and writers in the late 1990s and 2000s. The bar itself hosted exhibitions in an adjacent room; one memorable group show there was “Drunk vs. Stoned,” which matched participants to either of those two forms of intoxication.

The G.B.E. ethos, at once professional and scruffy, endured when the gallery moved in 2016 to a huge four-story space in Harlem — a relocation that felt like a pointed rebuke of the Chelsea art world. In November 2016, a week after the election of President Trump, the gallery premiered Mr. Jafa’s “Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death,” an arrhythmic video collage of Black American joy and violence, which drew lines around the block.

Mr. Brown’s gallery, while adventurous, was no punk endeavor: It was a regular participant at fairs like Art Basel and Frieze, and presented big-ticket painting alongside uncollectable experiments. But midsize dealerships like G.B.E. were already being squeezed in recent years, as the art market has grown into a global sales network and a handful of major galleries have taken a greater percentage of total market share.

The closing of G.B.E. solidifies a tendency in the art world — sometimes called “grow or go” — that has left midtier spaces ever more endangered and has required even well-established dealers like Ms. Gladstone to expand to keep pace.

Mr. Brown is skeptical whether the art market’s frenetic pace can or should resume once the pandemic subsides, and he is carrying his doubts with him to Gladstone.

“I think we both know that there needs to be something more, or something else, especially now,” he said. “To imagine we can all start again with business as usual is a collective delusion.

“In that sense, I think that perhaps the timing of this is good,” he said. “The challenge is the general anxiety about the state of this country, politically and socially and spiritually. There’s a wish for things to shift. I think there’s a hunger, in contrast to everyone’s current lived experience, to be connected. Or to live inside a more visceral, present reality.”

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