Home Arts Gagosian closes its sprawling Britannia Street gallery in London after two decades

Gagosian closes its sprawling Britannia Street gallery in London after two decades

by godlove4241
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It’s not often you hear of the world’s largest gallery closing a space, but after 20 years Larry Gagosian has announced he is closing his Britannia Street location in King’s Cross, north of London.

The huge proportions of the Britannia Street space – its largest room is 28 meters long and almost six meters high – make it ideal for large sculptures and ambitious projects. It was launched in 2004 with an exhibition of ten large-scale paintings by Cy Twombly, followed by a show featuring two enormous sculptures by Martin Kippenberger.

Exterior view of Gagosian Britannia Street

Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery

The American dealer gave no reason for the decision, although a spokesperson says the gallery is developing a new platform for large-scale sculpture that will “continue and expand the tradition” of Britannia Street. Launched in October, to coincide with Frieze London, the new venture, called Gagosian Open, “will see artworks installed on public sites in London”, they say. “[It] will offer artists the opportunity to exhibit ambitious projects beyond the walls of the gallery and allow new audiences to discover remarkable works of art in entirely different contexts – places previously inaccessible to the city’s public spaces .”

It’s a new approach for Gagosian, which has built an empire on the traditional brick-and-mortar gallery model, even during an economic downturn. At the onset of the 1990s recession, he reopened his Los Angeles gallery, while in 2007, shortly before the global economic crash, he opened a space in Rome. In 2012, The arts journal estimated its global galleries totaled over 14,200m², more than the entire Tate Modern exhibition space of 13,500m².

CRASH: Tribute to JG Ballard, from February 11 to April 1, 2010, at Gagosian Britannia Street

Courtesy of Gagosian Gallery

It has since opened three spaces in Paris as well as galleries in Basel and Gstaad in Switzerland. In 2021, he closed its San Francisco space. In recent years, question marks have hung over the Britannia Street space, which held popular exhibitions by Jeff Koons and Richard Serra early on, as well as Cecily Brown’s first exhibition in the UK, in 2006.

Less well received was American Pastoralan exhibition pitting 19th-century masters against contemporary big names like Ed Ruscha and Roy Lichtenstein, which opened in early 2020. “Visiting it is a bit like stumbling into the gallery’s storeroom.” writing THE Telegraph Alistair Sooke.

Meanwhile, for an entire year, between April 2021 and April 2022, Gagosian gave the keys to the gallery to Damien Hirst, who mounted a series of exhibitions of his own works including Natural History, his marinated animals in formaldehyde.

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