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The London dealer Timothy Taylor is relocating his Chelsea gallery to New York’s hip Tribeca neighbourhood on 20 April, a move he says came about as a “happy accident”—though one that points to a wider trend, not only among art galleries.
Over the past five years or so, the likes of mega dealer David Zwirner and smaller outfits such as Chapter Gallery, Denny Denim and Canada have flocked to Tribeca and have now reached a critical mass of around 50 galleries. Taylor thinks Tribeca is “increasingly defining itself by volume”—both in terms of galleries and the number of visitors to the area. “But I’m not suggesting there’s going to be a mass migration from Chelsea,” he adds.
Tribeca, which has also attracted Manhattan A-listers over the years, among them Robert De Niro, Meg Ryan and Leonardo DiCaprio, has a “very different feel” to the Chelsea community, says Taylor, who opened in the upmarket district in 2016 as an experiment. “The spaces in Tribeca offer artists something different. If you’ve been showing in the same space in Chelsea for the past 20 years, it’s quite exciting to be given a different opportunity.”
Taylor explains how he took the Tribeca gallery after finding himself in the area by chance last summer. “A property agent named Jonathan Travis had been telling me to look at Tribeca, and I had completely ignored him, thinking that if you were in Tribeca, you’d somehow failed in Chelsea,” the dealer says. “So I rang Jonathan to let him know I was in Tribeca. He showed me a space and I made an offer the next day. It was really a complete coincidence to find myself in that part of town.”
The first show in Taylor’s new 6,000 sq. ft, two-story space is by the Turkish-born abstract painter Hayal Pozanti, her first exhibition with the gallery since her representation was announced earlier this year. Over the course of the next 18 months, Taylor will introduce a number of artists who are new to the gallery. Next up, in September, is a show by the self-taught Thai-born figurative painter Jiab Prachakul.
Alongside his new signings, Taylor aims to maintain his programme of showing mainly—but not exclusively—European artists. “I want to give European artists a big enough platform to be taken seriously in the US market,” he says. “I wouldn’t say my sole focus is on European artists, but as a European gallery, I think that’s quite important.”
All change in London
As for his own base, Taylor will remain in London where he has run a gallery since 1996. He notes how the UK capital has changed “quite dramatically” over the past five years. “International individuals may still have properties in London, but they spend less time in the UK,” he says. “I don’t know whether that’s down to Brexit or changes in international tax laws.”
The London art market, meanwhile, is “looking less to Europe”, Taylor says, and is instead “looking to where the new energies are coming from”. The dealer spends a substantial amount of time in China, Hong Kong and, increasingly, Korea—though he says there are no plans to open an outpost in East Asia.
As he puts it: “This is not a huge gallery, we have a team which punches above its weight. I take a more opportunistic approach: to do exhibitions, fairs and pop ups in other places—and then leave and come back when I’ve got another good idea.”
Taylor recognises his method may go against the grain, but would rather stay moderately sized and focused. “Everybody says, the more real estate you have, the more artists you can have and the more you can sell. And the more money you can make,” he says. “But that’s not my approach. I want to enjoy what I do. And I want to have fun.”