As the number of nomadic and pop-up-prone galleries has expanded, other players in the commercial art world have begun to cater to this demand. One new player is the World Art Lounge
(WAL), a project launched last month that aims to provide member galleries with the logistics to support pop-up exhibitions and other nomadic programming around the world. WAL’s founders come from a range of art-industry backgrounds, and include the former general manager of French art fair FIAC, Jean-Daniel Compain; Christie’s veteran Jean-Christophe Harel, who launched the Paris Photo fair’s Los Angeles edition; and Cyrille Troubetzkoy, who ran the Paris gallery La Blanchisserie.
“Instead of offering a space somewhere and then having 100 galleries or 200 galleries come together, we thought about something more flexible and smaller in size,” Harel said.
WAL plans to organize pop-up exhibitions and other events at a range of venues around the world for anywhere from 1 to 15 galleries at a time. The first exhibition will take place in early June in Paris, where WAL, in partnership with the Mobilier National, will stage an exhibition at the Galerie des Gobelins.
Member galleries will pay a one-time joining fee of €1,200 ($1,400), plus annual membership fees of €900 ($1,000) or monthly fees of €75 ($85), in exchange for the opportunity to participate in WAL-organized exhibitions and the chance to leverage WAL’s infrastructure to initiate their own pop-up projects. In addition to the venue, WAL plans to offer galleries support and logistics, from hiring gallery attendants on the ground in a given locale and printing flyers and press releases to shipping organization, concierge services, and publicity.
“We’ve heard for so long that galleries don’t like to work together,” Harel said. “But more and more, there’s a new generation of galleries that are organized in communities.” WAL wants to service those communities, he said.
Even fairs, oft-cited as major contributors to the stresses felt by small and mid-size galleries, are catering to this sense of community and cooperation amid a new generation of dealers. Much like Independent, which operated
a year-round space in Brussels from 2015 through 2017, the Dallas Art Fair
recently launched a permanent brick-and-mortar space
in Dallas’s Design District, where it is giving its core exhibitors the opportunity to program large-scale exhibitions throughout the year. Dubbed 214 Projects, the new space opened on March 2nd with a solo exhibition of works by
, organized by Brussels-based gallery Harlan Levey Projects
“We thought this would be an opportunity for galleries to be here for a few weeks and do a bigger project than what’s possible at an art fair,” said Kelly Cornell, the director of the Dallas Art Fair.
Setting up an outpost in Dallas for a few weeks, the thinking goes, could help out-of-town dealers make good on interest expressed by would-be clients during the fair.
“There’s more time to place the works,” Cornell said. “We can reach further, like to big corporations and collectors in Austin or Fort Worth, and greater Texas, than what is sometimes possible just during the weekend of the fair.”