Hauser and Wirth Is the Latest Blue-Chip Gallery to Plan a Hamptons Outpost as the New York Market Moves East
The gallery already has spaces in the resort towns of Gstaad and St. Moritz.
Hauser & Wirth has joined the ranks of blue-chip art dealers opening Eastern Long Island outposts for the summer, revealing plans for a two-story, 5,000-square-foot location on Main Street in Southampton, just a few miles west of new spaces in East Hampton launched by Van de Weghe Fine Art, Skarstedt Gallery, Pace, and Sotheby’s.
When much of the world went into lockdown in early March, many Manhattanites—including throngs of art-world players—fled the city for second homes upstate or out East. Now that summer has officially started, shutdown restrictions are slowly being lifted—but many buyers are staying put. And if the beach-dwelling collectors won’t come to the blue-chip gallery, the blue-chip gallery must come to them.
“It’s really very practical for us in the sense that it’s about trying to do business again and bringing people in front of artworks” after the months-long closure, gallery president Marc Payot told Artnet News. “We’re seeking practical and appropriate ways to present and sell works of art in order to protect the livelihoods and well-being of the individuals who make up our company and its extended family.”
The gallery, which signed a one-year lease, plans to start with a by-appointment private viewing room, though it’s possible it will mount full-on exhibitions as conditions continue to ease.
Noting the Swiss mega-gallery’s existing spaces in prominent resort towns such as Gstaad and St. Moritz, Payot says the new Southampton space is “very much in that spirit.”
Having scoured nearby towns including East Hampton, Sag Harbor, and Bridgehampton, Payot was pleased to find a space—formerly occupied by the fashion store Henry Lehr—that required little remodeling and allowed them to open fast. “That was the determining factor,” he said.
The landlord pushed for a one-year lease rather than a shorter pop-up; Payot eventually came around, considering the New York’s market shift eastward is likely to last beyond the summer. “We don’t know how this crisis is going to develop,” Payot said. “I think that mobility is going to be an issue longer than just Labor Day. A lot of our clients are going to remain in their Hamptons homes.”
Another plus? Being close to some star artists in the gallery stable, including George Condo, Mary Heilmann, and Rashid Johnson, all of whom maintain homes and studios in the region.
The Southampton opening is set for mid-July. Meanwhile, Hauser & Wirth is planning to start re-open its Manhattan spaces in West Chelsea and the Upper East Side and resume public hours on July 6. On view will be two exhibitions interrupted by the shutdown: a Jack Whitten survey at 32 East 69th Street, and an exhibition of the work of Light and Space sculptor Larry Bell at 548 West 22nd Street.
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