Vito Schnabel Taking Over Bruno Bischofberger’s Gallery Space

There's a shake-up coming to St. Moritz.

Vito Schnabel with Liv Tyler in 2010. Photo: David Crotty/
Bruno Bischofberger  Photo: Quazoo

Bruno Bischofberger
Photo: Quazoo

Legendary Swiss dealer Bruno Bischofberger will be closing his St. Moritz space at the end of the season. The current exhibition, a solo show by Czech artist Jiri Georg Dokoupil, is the gallery’s last at the exclusive ski resort, the gallery confirmed to artnet News on Thursday. According to AMA, the venue will then be taken over by New York art dealer-cum-celebrity Vito Schnabel following Bischofberger’s departure. Schnabel’s office didn’t answer artnet News’ request for comment.

Bischofberger’s Zürich gallery is currently closed for renovation. Gallery staff was unable to confirm an official date for the reopening or the current specifics of the new location. The gallery’s own website mentions only a reopening of “gallery spaces during 2014/2015.”

According to a former press statement from the gallery, the new Zürich space will occupy a 250,000-square-foot complex in the south east of Zürich, that formerly housed a factory. The gallery was previously located in the city center. The new complex will initially house Bischofberger’s vast collections of fine art, design, and folk art, an institutional-leaning move reminiscent of Yvon Lambert’s recent close (see “Yvon Lambert’s Paris Gallery Shuts Down”). It will later be built out to house the commercial gallery itself.

Heidi Klum and Vita Schnabel at the Dallas Contemporary. Photo: Jenifer McNeil Baker

Heidi Klum and Vito Schnabel at Dallas Contemporary.
Photo: Jenifer McNeil Baker

Bischofberger took the surprising step of skipping Art Basel, at which he had long been a fixture, in 2013 and 2014. Art Basel has yet to release the 2015 exhibitors list for the Basel, Switzerland, edition of the fair, but it’s expected for his absence to continue at least until the new gallery is opened.

He belongs to a handful of dealers who from the 1960s onwards tirelessly championed American artists in Europe. In 1965, aged 25, Bischofberger organized a show of American Pop art, featuring works by the likes of Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Claes Oldenburg. The dealer remained close to Warhol until the artist’s death in 1987.

In the 1970s, Bischofberger embraced minimal and conceptual art (Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, Bruce Nauman) and when painting came back in fashion in the 1980s, he went all Neo-expressionist, showcasing the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat, George Condo, and David Salle—as well as Vito Schnabel’s father, Julian Schnabel.

Update: Following the publication of this article, Galerie Bruno Bischofberger contacted artnet News to clarify that the space in St Moritz was rented by the gallery. Vito Schnabel will therefore only be the space’s next tenant. Bischofberger’s new Zurich space will open in June 2015. Meanwhile, the gallery is available for business by appointment only.

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