The Zabludowicz Collection Is Closing Its London Space

The private museum's doors will shut when its final shows end on December 17.

Zabludowicz Collection, London, 2022. Photo: David Bebber. Courtesy the Zabludowicz Collection.

After 16 years, the private London art space run by collectors Anita and Poju Zabludowicz will close this month, with its final group shows, “All Crescendo, No Reward,” and “Haverstock School Curates,” ending on 17 December.

In a statement, the collection foundation said it wanted to “expand its international reach” and access to the more than 8,000 artworks in its collection, by increasing free-of-charge art loans to institutions and “extending our digital presence and offer.”

The institution’s residency on the Finish Island of Sarvisalo, and its New York space, will continue to operate and expand, along with developing partnerships with curators, building on commissions, and other professional opportunities for artists. In 2024, the studios and workshops at the Sarvisalo residency space will be improved and extended, with projects made accessible to the public.

The free-entry museum at 176 Prince of Wales Road, London opened in 2007, in a former Methodist chapel, and quickly built an international reputation for championing emerging and cutting-edge artists, such as Rina Banargee, Trisha Baga, Erica Beckman, Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin, Donna Huanca, Haroon Mirza, Shana Moulton, and LuYang, to name a few.

“We are immensely proud of what the team… has achieved during this time,” the institution said in its statement. Founders Anita and Poju Zabludowicz were also quoted explaining that a positive increase in opportunities and visibility for emerging artists, as well as a trend in greater inclusivity, has “prompted us to reflect on the focus” of the collection, and their “aim to provide a platform for artists.”

They added that the decision to close the space would lead to significant job cuts.

The collection, founded in 1994, is principally owned by the Zabludowicz Art Trust, created by the art collecting couple. In recent years, their ties to Israel have become a subject of controversy. In 2021, a group of 25 artists and cultural workers signed a letter with a group called the Boycott/Divest Zabludowicz (BDZ), disaffiliating themselves from their past work owned by the foundation. Poju Zabludowicz cofounded the nonprofit pro-Israel lobby group Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM). He is also the CEO of the Tamares investment group, which the artists and BDZ alleged was “initially established with money historically made from arms dealing and contracts with the Israeli Air Force, but which still currently has ties to property in illegally occupied Ma’ale Adumim, BICOM, and significant financial contributions to Conservative Friends of Israel.”

However, on the Zabludowicz couple’s website, it says Tamares “has no investment in the West Bank or military-related interests,” adding that most of the group’s funding is in real estate, private equity, hospitality, and technology in the U.S., U.K., and Finland, with a small percentage in Israel. “Anita and Poju believe illegal settlements in the West Bank to be unethical and a violation of international law. Most importantly we know these settlements to be obstacles to peace in the region and detrimental to the existence of an independent Palestinian State, and therefore are against their existence,” the website statement reads.

In October, via their website, the couple said they were “deeply saddened and troubled by the horrific war” in Israel and Gaza. “We strongly support a Two-State Solution and peaceful existence that guarantees the rights of Israelis and Palestinians to live and work side by side in cooperation with the wider Middle East. We founded the Zabludowicz Collection because we believe in the power of culture and art to build bridges across divides.”

In a response to questions from Artnet News, a spokesperson for the Zabludowicz Collection said “the closure has no connection to the Gaza / Israel war, or any boycott.”


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