Does Olivier Belot Really Think He’s the Next Yvon Lambert?

Olivier Belot, Mélanie Meffrer Rondeau, and Alexa Brossad, founders of Until Then
Photo: Justin Creedy Smith

It’s official. Polarizing Yvon Lambert number two Olivier Belot is stepping out of the legendary art dealer’s shadow to start his own space. Named Until Then, Belot initiated the project with Mélanie Meffrer Rondeau and Alexa Brossard, two other former hands from the soon-to-shutter Yvon Lambert Gallery (see “Yvon Lambert’s Paris Gallery Shuts Down”). Meffrer Rondeau served as the gallery’s director for ten years before dipping out in 2012. Brossard has been an associate director at Lambert since 2010.

Unsurprisingly, some of the artists that the nascent gallery will represent are names long associated with Yvon Lambert’s rise: Douglas Gordon, David Claerbout, Jonathan Monk, Robert Barry, Diogo Pimentão, and Joan Jonas. A cluster of new represented artists will be revealed in January 2015, a press released informed.

What is, perhaps, more surprising is the location of the gallery: neither in the well-heeled area of Le Marais, where most blue-chip galleries hold court, nor in bohemian Belleville, where young, cutting-edge galleries reign supreme. Until Then has chosen to set quarters in the northern area of St. Ouen, almost the periphery for Parisian standards. “Yvon was the first to open in the Marais. That’s how areas are created, by trying a sideways step. […] Here you have to invent,” said the gallery team collectively of their choice of location.

Belot says that the Les Puces flea market in which the gallery will be located “is a real hub of Parisian life” and “frequented by foreigners who do not venture into the Marais,” which is, oddly, one of Paris’s peak tourist neighborhoods these days. Until Then will shake up the current gallery model: 40 of the gallery’s 500 square meters will be devoted to performance; it will only be open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays; and it will only hold four or five exhibitions each year.

But, whether Belot himself can hack managing his own gallery, remains to be seen. When news of Yvon Lambert Gallery’s closing broke in July, France’s Libération placed a good deal of the blame on Belot for failing to adequately position Lambert’s gallery on the global stage. Moreover, multiple former employees of the gallery have reported a none-too-pleasant working relationship with the former number two and suggested that his management led to a higher-than-normal employee turnover at Lambert that could follow Belot to Until Then.

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