Lisson, Lehmann Maupin, and 12 Other Blue-Chip Galleries Are Opening Pop-Up Shows in a New Free-Trade Hub in Beijing

The project will last three months.

The Blanc International Contemporary Art Space in Beijing.
The Blanc International Contemporary Art Space in Beijing.

A group of high-power art dealers are joining forces this fall to set up shop in a three-month pop-up in Beijing.

Starting October 23, Massimo De Carlo, Simon Lee, Esther Schipper, and 11 other galleries will mount a three-month pop-up in the new Blanc International Contemporary Art Space, according to the Financial Times. The building, conceived as a hub for both local and international galleries and named for the logistics company that owns it, is housed in the Tianzhu Free Trade Zone, meaning dealers can import and export their artworks tax free.

The Blanc founders invited galleries directly, said Greg Hilty, curatorial director of Lisson Gallery. “We believe their initiative can add a unique dimension to Beijing’s art scene,” he said. His gallery is planning an exhibition of works by French painter Bernard Piffaretti for the space.

Lehmann Maupin, another participant, was attracted by the other blue-chip galleries that were joining in the project. “We were in close communication with the organizers and many of the other galleries before committing to participate,” gallery co-founder David Maupin said in an email to Artnet News. “Given the scale of a country like China and a city like Beijing, we were attracted to the proposal of a centralized arts hub—a site that could serve as a destination and capture a larger swath of audience.” 

“Knowing our neighbors certainly helped sweeten the deal,” he added.

Chantal Joffe, <i>Lockdown Self-Portrait in Stripes</i>,(2020). © Chantal Joffe. Courtesy the artist, Victoria Miro, and Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong, and Seoul.

Chantal Joffe, Lockdown Self-Portrait in Stripes,(2020). © Chantal Joffe. Courtesy the artist, Victoria Miro, and Lehmann Maupin, Hong Kong, and Seoul.

The gallery has recently established similar outposts in Aspen, Palm Beach, and Taipei. Each existed on a seasonal, temporary basis, allowing Maupin and his partner, Rachel Lehmann, to toe-test smaller markets for shorter periods of time. (The gallery maintains permanent outposts in Hong Kong, London, New York, and Seoul.)

“The pop-ups have allowed us to demonstrate our commitment to a particular region, and given us the time and space to invest more deeply,” he said. “As a result, we’ve seen it pay off for our business; we’ve engaged new clients, reactivated old relationships, and enriched a curatorial dialogue around our program.” 

Lehmann Maupin will kick off its tour in Beijing with a debut of large-scale photographs by Marilyn Minter before opening a presentation of paintings by Chantal Joffe—whom the gallery now represents in Asia—in November. 


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