Numéro art: Can you describe the new Pace Gallery?
Marc Glimcher: There’s a library on the ground floor, storage space on the second, three floors of exhibition space, a terrace that is a full floor on the second-to-top level, and at the top, over the terrace, a performance space with a music system, which will also host lectures, teaching events, etc. That’s eight levels altogether – it’s huge! But then we do represent 90 artists.
Wow, an enternaiment space!
We don’t use that word. There’ll also be food here, but not a big restaurant with reservations, rather a food truck.
So what’s behind this giant new building?
Firstly, our lease was up on the old one. We started this process, and then I started fantasizing about having everyone in the same building. But the gallery’s audience has also grown enormously, not just the number of collectors but also the number of people for whom contemporary art is an important part of their lives. Since Pace first opened in 1960, and especially since turn of the millennium, it’s become insane. Nobody has exact figures, but it says something if I tell you we have 800,000 Instagram followers! The place of contemporary art in the world has become so much bigger, the demand is bigger, the number of collectors is bigger, so the job the artists have to do is bigger. The artists have to work in bigger studios and don’t have time to answer phone calls. Running a gallery has also turned into a massive job.
Do you have annual attendance figures?
Yes, 100,000 in New York alone.
What were the figures 20 years ago?
I’d say 8,000 to 10,000 people.
“Fairs are a kind of anti-art thing, because to go in somewhere and see thousands of works of art in the same place is not a good idea. ”
Like many other galleries, you’ve moved to a huge space in a context where retail sales have actually gone down. What part has the internet played in this?
In 3,500 BCE, artists invented the experience we call art. Now, one of the huge collaterals of the internet is the experience of art: because people sit in the virtual world for so long, they need real-life experiences. The fact that demand for art has gone up confuses the business community, because retail sales in shopping malls keep going down, so they tell themselves, “People stay at home now.” But, while the brand experience can be replicated online, the art experience can’t. Art is irreplaceable.
What do you think about art fairs?
There isn’t that much good art. Fairs are a kind of anti-art thing, because to go in somewhere and see thousands of works of art in the same place is not a good idea. Having said that, what’s great about art fairs, and which makes up for all the terrible things about them – too intense, too much art, too commercial – is that there’s a place where everything and everyone come together.