Gallerist Max Perlingeiro, who in 1979 founded Pinakotheke gallery in Rio de Janeiro (and later in São Paulo and Fortaleza), has experienced the biggest blow—his life and business partner, the much-admired Bia Perlingeiro, was taken by COVID-19 in April. “Recently I have a new motto: ‘Art takes us to bed,’” said Perlingeiro. “In this painful period with a shrinking economy, badly coordinated politics, we may miss a hug. However, at nighttime watching the live-stream online with wonderful artists, intellectuals, poets, and musicians, ‘Art takes us to bed.’”
Many galleries were forced to lay off employees, renegotiate salaries, and move to smaller spaces. With businesses operating mostly online, art powerhouse Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel
downsized from three locations to two, keeping Galpão in São Paulo (Brazil’s largest gallery-slash-warehouse) and Carpintaria in Rio de Janeiro. Claudia Marchetti’s Arteedições
, originally both a gallery and a publisher of limited art editions, left its upscale venue in the Jardins neighborhood in São Paulo for an office space with a staff of three instead of its usual eight, deciding to act solely as a publishing house with a focus on strengthening the gallery’s online marketing. Similarly, Luciana Caravello
closed down her 5,000-square-foot namesake gallery in Ipanema and moved to São Paulo, where she now works from a high-rise office with a staff of two. “I’m focused on upgrading our online platform and as for physical exhibitions in the near future I’ll rent the space,” she said. “With the doors shut, low sales, a staff of six and a monthly high rent in the heart of Ipanema, I became a pricey art warehouse.” Central Galeria’s Fernanda Resston, however, opted for a different strategy. “I kept my team of three and gave everyone a 5% salary raise to motivate them in their home-office environment,” said the young gallerist.