boom or bust for london gallery space?

29 May 2011 § 1 Comment

Jeroen Verhoeven at Blain Southern

Blain|Southern have announced that they will be moving from their rather cramped Dering Street premises in to a new gallery at 5 Hanover Square in May 2012. It is big too. The 12,400 sq ft area is one of the largest in London – only Hauser & Wirth are more extensive. Just behind them in the size chart incidentally, is Haunch of Venison, Harry Blain‘s old gallery which he recently left. Both have excellent current exhibitions well worth seeing – my reviews hopefully to come soon.

 

Richard Long at Haunch of Venison

So how is the downturn affecting London galleries? Hauser & Wirth’s huge new space only opened the end of last year,  Halcyon Gallery are opening a new gallery soon at 144 New Bond Street, SumarriaLunn have just had their opening at 36 South Molton Lane and Gazelli hint at a new space in St James. There are pop-ups galore plus other new galleries and yet few seem to be closing.

 
Over at Christies et al auction results are back to the (already high) levels seen just before the peak of the market in 2007, the international art fairs report steady results and all the London galleries seem to be surviving or even thriving.
 
So all is all is rosy then? Has the city’s art market managed to ride out the recession? I suspect it is not quite as hunky dory as it appears, the larger galleries have survived as their wealthy clientelle is less affected whilst smaller ones are surviving on savings from the boom years, international art fairs and a hope of better to come. The big ticket evening sales results are good, whilst the more moderately priced day sales are merely steady. New galleries are coming with new money and not reliant on their past sales.
 
The near future surely will be a battle with survival only certain for the fittest. I wonder who may not last beyond next year if the forecasts of stagnation in the UK economy are correct?
 
Jeroen Vehoeven is at Blain Southern,  21 Dering Street, London AS1 1AL until 16 July 2011
 
Richard Long & Guiseppe Penone are at Haunch of Venison, Burlington Gardens, London W1S 3ET until 20 August 2011
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