Megagallery Gagosian is closing its Britannia Street branch in London this summer. In operation for nineteen years, the gallery hosted shows including solo exhibitions of work by Cecily Brown, Zeng Fanzhi, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Meleko Mokgosi, Takashi Murakami, Richard Serra, and Rachel Whiteread. The 15,000-square foot space was Gagosian’s second London outpost, after its Heddon Street digs, which it closed in 2005. The gallery’s Grosvenor Hill and Davies Street branches will continue to operate. The past few years saw galleries and arts-related institutions quake in the shadow of a then-looming Brexit.
In 2018, the British Film Instituteshelveda planned $177 million national film and television center that had been a decade in the making; two years later, Swedish photography hub Fotografiska scrapped its plans for a massive London gallery, billed as the world’s largest photography venue, as Covid-19 additionally compromised the landscape. International galleryMarian Goodmanpulled out of the city in 2020, butPace Gallery, which took over the space abandoned byBlain Southernwhen it ceased operations altogether—saw opportunity there.RelatedHELEN FRANKENTHALER FOUNDATION SUED FOR “DESTROYING” PAINTER’S LEGACYBMA CREATES PAID INTERNSHIPS HONORING VALERIE MAYNARD A Gagosian spokesperson said that the reason for the Britannia Street closure, which was first reported in theFinancial Times,is because the landlord is redeveloping the building. At the same time that it announced the shuttering, Gagosian revealed plans to launch Gagosian Open, which will see the gallery place artworks in public spaces across London. The move suggests the gallery is shrinking its fiscal footprint but not its presence in the city, embracing a more flexible approach to display and most likely following the money, as it did in 2021 when it shut its San Francisco outpost andturned its attentionto its takeover of the Marciano Museum building in Los Angeles. Gagosian in the past year has taken on ten new artists, including Nan Goldin (though it didlosecash cow Jeff Koons in 2021).
In the past three years, it has announced galleries in Athens; Gstaad, Switzerland; andParis..