Just months after the Goodman Gallery announced they’d be expanding their South Africa-based gallery to London this fall, David Zwirner, one of the art industry’s biggest gallery names, announced plans to expand to Europe. Set to open in just a few months, the Zwirner gallery will then have its first continental Europe gallery in Paris.
One of the German-born dealer’s biggest concerns? Like many others, Brexit. ‘Brexit changes the game,’ Zwirner said in an interview with the Financial Times. ‘After October, my London gallery will be a British gallery, not a European one. I am European, and I would like a European gallery, too.’ Zwirner hopes that the new gallery will offer the artists he represents more exposure to European viewers after Brexit goes through.
The want to establish a strong base in Europe anticipates not only Britain leaving the European Union but the potential for a no-deal Brexit. Boris Johnson, one of the prime candidates to take over as Prime Minister after Theresa May stepped down in June, remarked that Brexit is a ‘do or die’ situation making the October 31st deadline, looming over the heads of many, even more daunting.
The Paris addition will be the sixth location for Zwirner’s self-named gallery whose flagship space is in London. The new gallery will call an 8,600-square-foot Le Marais space once used by Yvon Lambert that since 2015, has been used by VNH Gallery. Hélène Nguyen-Ban, owner of VNH, reached out to Zwirner when they knew they would be closing the gallery at the end of July to offer up the well-loved location. The news of the expansion comes after speculation that Zwirner was looking to expand when he accidentally made mention of a possible new location in June on the Art Agency, Partners podcast In Other Words.
Victoire de Pourtalès, Nguyen-Ban’s partner from VNH Gallery, won’t be leaving the Parisian gallery space, though. She will be staying there to become the co-manager of the new Zwirner location. In fact, a large number of the team from VHN will stay on with Zwirner. New York director for Zwirner, Justine Durrett will head to Paris to work alongside Pourtalès as co-manager. In the end, the VHN team has had a ‘happy ending’ said Nguyen-Ban to the Financial Times. ‘It’s much better than if an Abercrombie & Fitch moved in.’
The gallery is set to open in October to coincide with FIAC with a solo show of works by US artist Raymond Pettibon.
In Zwirner’s official statement, he said:
‘In recent years, Paris has quickly become one of the most vibrant cities for the visual arts in Europe. It’s a city where history meets the present, and we are endlessly excited to be able to occupy one of the most beautiful and legendary gallery spaces in Le Marais.’