POST BY PADDY JOHNSON
Gavin Brown, Image via: Timeout New York
Why is Gavin Brown’s impending gallery expansion so important that the New York Observer is dedicating two pages to the story? Rachel Wolfe’s feature runs like a giant ad for Brown, needlessly peddling the absurd notion that the gallerist will be New York’s next Jeffrey Deitch. Scheduled to close Deitch Projects this May when he leaves the city to take on the role of Executive Director of LA MoCA, Deitch has said many of his artists will find a new home with former director Kathy Grayson. I don’t understand why she wouldn’t be the next Deitch — unless, of course, you’re a writer in need of a hook.
In any event, if Brown is going to be the next Deitch, he’s going to step up to Jeffrey’s level of PR speak. “I don't really know what a gallery is—it's just a space for potential imagination,” Brown tells the Observer, offering up the largest amount of bullshit I’ve heard come out of a gallerist’s mouth in a while. Ironically, the Observer published an article on this very problem just last week before peddling some of its own. Speaking to this, Wolfe provides a boarder-line insulting spin on New Museum’s relationship with Gavin Brown Enterprise:
Mr. Brown's program has been so successful, in fact, that harsh criticism arose last year over the dealer's relationship with the New Museum (i.e., “Gavin's Place,” to the naysayers), where four of his artists have had substantial showings in the past two years. Brown outright denied any insider politics (as did the New Museum at that time, though the institution declined to comment for this piece).
This is ridiculous. Whether or not it was intentional, the New Museum’s willingness to draw from the same Gavin Brown pot continuously has nothing to do with quality and everything to do with an unhealthy reliance on professional networks. Anyone with a wit of sense knows Brown’s Steven Shearer doesn’t make work worthy of a New Museum show and yet look where he found himself just last year.
The whole piece feels depressingly reminiscent of Allen Salkin’s 2007 feature in the New York Times on the fact that Pace Prints moved to Chelsea. The point of that article? If you’re not collecting emerging art, you’re ball-less.