With a New Online Salesroom, This Hip New York Gallery Is Reinventing Itself by Offering Flash Sales for the Art Market

The Journal Gallery is moving to a new neighborhood and launching a new sales platform called Tennis Elbow.

Rita Ackermann, Mama 6 (2019). © Rita Ackermann, Courtesy the artist, The Journal Gallery, and Hauser & Wirth (Photo: Thomas Barratt)

The Journal Gallery, now in its 15th year of business, is turning a new page. The gallery is relaunching with a new space—joining the growing ranks of galleries relocating to Tribeca—and a new sales format. The concept is sort of like Gilt, the luxury flash sale website, but for art. The Journal Gallery will showcase one-week-long solo exhibitions in its physical space and in a new online portal; users will be able to buy art either in person or with a click of a button.

The initiative comes amid a push to promote price transparency in the growing world of online art sales. But so far, mega-galleries like Gagosian and David Zwirner have been leading the charge through online viewing rooms with high-priced work. Now, the Journal Gallery, which focuses on mid-career and emerging artists at a lower price point, is expanding its approach.

The Journal Gallery’s initiative, titled “Tennis Elbow,” first debuted in 2017 in a viewing room at the gallery’s former Williamsburg space and on Instagram. Now, it is expanding to encompass the gallery’s entire program in its new digs and online. The gallery kicks off its new chapter with a one-week-only show of work by New York-based Hungarian painter Rita Ackermann. (The shows will always run concurrently at the gallery and online; if you have interest in a work after the show closes, you must contact the gallery directly.)

Tennis Elbow is named after “a condition derived from practice, and we saw this space as an opportunity for artists, both emerging and established, to be sporadic in showing new work, to present a single work, to show something they may not have the chance to otherwise,” the gallery’s directors Michael Nevin and Julia Dippelhofer told arnet News via email. “We wanted to present an exhibition space that offered an alternative to a big solo exhibition, a place where an artist could show work unencumbered by all of the pressures that come with a big show.”

The duo said that, for years, they had thought about making primary market work from exhibitions available online. (They do not represent artists, instead working with them on a project basis.) “In the past year or so it felt like the energy had shifted in a way that made the timing right, but the issue we came up against was how to do this in a way that protected the artists and their work,” they said.

The Journal Gallery's new space in Tribeca.

The Journal Gallery’s new space in Tribeca.

They have attempted to tackle the danger of overexposure by establishing both a short time limit for the shows and a membership program for Tennis Elbow. Members are pre-approved and receive access to works early—every Friday at noon for exhibitions that open 24 hours later. Members have to agree to follow a set of terms which allows the gallery directors to “feel confident in the transaction.”

Nevin and Dippelhofer say they want to bring in new collectors and offer works at a range of price points, as well as by artists at different stages in their careers. “In addition to transparency we were thinking about accessibility,” they note. “With the current gallery model being generally quite intimidating, it was important to us to do a project that was more inclusive and open to bringing in new collectors.”

A solo one-week show of Rita Ackermann opens at The Journal Gallery’s new location at 45 White Street on Saturday, April 27.

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