Building a Rare Book Collection? Gagosian Has Launched a New Curatorial Service to Help Jumpstart Your Library

Douglas Flamm, the gallery's rare book specialist, is offering to fill clients' libraries with suitable titles.

Family room designed by Nicole Hollis, featuring a library curated by Douglas Flamm. Artwork: Doug Aitken, I’ll be right back...; Aperture Series (2019). © Doug Aitken. Photo: Douglas Friedman/Trunk Archive. Collection curated by LSS Art Advisory.

Anyone with a high income-level can put together an impressive art collection, but only the high-minded can put together an impressive book collection. Until now.

This month, Gagosian has launched an advisory for those who’d like to build a rare book collection, run by its rare book specialist, Douglas Flamm, who’s worked with rare books for 25 years and with the gallery for seven.

“Through the course of my career, I’ve always worked with putting together collections, either from scratch as a whole library, or in a more organic way over time, filling in holes,” Flamm told Artnet News. “We’re making that a more formal part of the business.” 

For Flamm, much of the joy in dealing with rare books lies in the hunt. The new advisory focuses on 20th- and 21st-century artists and movements, but certainly is not limited to it. A client is able to dictate what kind of artists interest them, and Flamm will sniff out the proper books accordingly. “It’s not caught up in the artists we represent. There’s a little bit more freedom to work with the client who is excited to have some more material on the artist that they’re interested in,” he said. The advisory is currently open and taking on new clientele through the Gagosian shop’s website.

Perhaps some of that freedom comes from Larry Gagosian’s knowledge that the finances of the gallery aren’t tied up in their publishing arm (though they have published over 600 titles, making Gagosian one of the most prominent art book publishers in the world). As acknowledged in Patrick Radden Keefe’s New Yorker profile of Larry Gagosian this week: “In financial terms, the books are ‘a loser’… But they are characteristically sumptuous, and artists and collectors love them.”

Flamm agreed, noting, “so many artists do things independently, so they’re not always on the primary radar of everyone. So there’s a sense of discovery.” He added: “I have so many people coming to me with the wrong edition or its in poor condition, and I really want to help them navigate that.”

 

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