In 2019, mega-galleries solidified their roles as formidable, global corporations. This fall, Pace
opened a 75,000-square-foot, eight-story flagship on West 25th Street, a building much larger than many art museums. The gallery employs an entire curatorial team, headed up by the former senior curator at Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art
, and it will soon launch its own editorial content under the guidance under Amelia Redgrift, formerly of Hauser & Wirth.
Hauser & Wirth
now operates out of eight cities worldwide—which will soon become nine, once plans for an arts center in Menorca
come to fruition. This year, the gallery launched Ursula
, a publication under the direction of former New York Times
writer Randy Kennedy. And ahead of Art Basel in Basel, the gallery’s publishing arm opened its own headquarters in Zurich. The gallery also announced its nonprofit scholarship
initiative, the Hauser & Wirth Institute, in late 2018.
opened a location in Basel over the summer, expanding its portfolio to 17 exhibition spaces in 10 cities.
, whose galleries grace a relatively meager four cities, nevertheless has asserted its own dominance as a media organization, having launched a partnership with big-five publisher Simon & Schuster this year and a podcast in 2018. The gallery also expanded
to Paris in October, and will open a
–designed gallery in Chelsea in 2021.
This apparent arms race—to dominate through media, brick-and-mortar locales, and scholarship—shows no signs of stopping. Throughout the 2020s, I believe we’ll see these four galleries invest even more in their physical spaces, set up shop in new cities, and continue to blur the lines between commercial businesses and art institutions with higher aims. They’ll mount more “museum-quality” shows and offer lectures similar to what a nonprofit might offer. By the end of the next decade, the average art viewer may have trouble telling the difference between a mega-gallery and a museum.