The Goodman Gallery, one of Africa’s leading art galleries, announced yesterday that this fall, they will open their third location. Joining their Cape Town and Johannesburg spaces will be a new gallery space in London located on Cork Street in Mayfair. The gallery will be the first permanent gallery to come to the revitalized street that has historically welcomed artists like Francis Bacon and Joan Miró (both of which made their debut in London on Cork Street).
The gallery was founded in 1966 during the apartheid and was instrumental in developing the South African art scene. By expanding to the UK, Liza Essers, owner and director of the gallery for more than a decade, hopes to capitalize on a market that is becoming more and more interested in art of the African diaspora and better represent such artists abroad. ‘It is time for a gallery from the African continent to play more of a front-line role in shaping international arts discourse,’ said Essers in the gallery’s press release. ‘In this global moment of heightened nationalist sentiment propelled by populist politics, it is more important than ever to reach across borders.’ Essers find the prospects of the new London location to be a ‘thrilling responsibility.’ She plans to ‘[expand] on, and [challenge], the history of Cork Street by bringing new perspectives from Africa and beyond.’
During her 11-year tenure at Goodman Gallery, Essers has introduced more than 30 international artists to the gallery. Essers is also dedicated to representing women artists and more than half of the artists she has recruited have been women. Through their Cork Street location, Goodman Gallery and Essers will bring a high-ranking list of artists from the around the world including Candice Breitz, Alfredo Jaar, William Kentridge, and Shirin Neshat as well as a strong new generation of contemporary artists like Nolan Oswald Dennis, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Grada Kilomba, Kapwani Kiwanga, and Tabita Rezaire, to name only a few. Essers expects the London location will increase the visibility of the artists Goodman Gallery represents.
Goodman Gallery’s new location on Cork Street will boast over 5,700 square feet of gallery space across the ground floor and basement of their building. It stands to be the first permanent gallery to take root on the redeveloped Mayfair street. ‘It is rare to find such a fresh, dynamic and well-located space in London,’ Essers told artnet News. ‘Watch this space.’ Goodman Gallery will bring 50 artists to London and has been a part of Frieze since 2013 and first participated in Art Basel 37 years ago. The gallery also has a history of working with and supporting nonprofits and organizations that work to make art more accessible through public programming, publishing, and education.