Blain Southern gallery, which has locations in London, Berlin, and New York, announced on Wednesday that it will close all of its current spaces. The gallery, which was founded in London in 2010 and was a regular on the international art fair circuit, had been going through a tumultuous time since this past fall, when it was announced in November that one of its founders, Graham Southern, would be leaving the operation.
At the time, the gallery’s other cofounder, Harry Blain, said in a statement that the gallery would be “going through a period of restructuring but remains fully committed to its artists, program, and the three spaces we have in London, Berlin, and New York.”
Just a few months before that, in March 2019, the gallery had opened its New York location, taking over the former space of Cheim & Read in Chelsea. But toward the end of last year two of its top directors—senior director Charles Saumarez-Smith and director of exhibitions Craig Burnett—both left the gallery. That space’s future was also put in jeopardy when it was announced that another enterprise, Marlborough Gallery, would expand into that lot.
According to its website, Blain Southern represents Francesco Clemente, Tony Cragg, Lucien Freud, Damien Hirst, Edward & Nancy Kienholz, Joan Synder, Bosco Sodi, Bill Viola, and others. But many artists had slowly begun announcing that they had parted ways with the gallery. According to a report in Artnet News, five artists had left since the split between the partners: Rachel Howard, Henning Strassburger, Sean Scully, Jake & Dinos Chapman, and Mat Collishaw, who announced the news via social media on Tuesday, February 11.
The Artnet report also said that four unnamed artists were working to recover their artworks that were in the gallery’s storage or overdue payments for works that had already been sold. (One said they had not been paid since June.)
In an emailed statement announcing the gallery’s closure, Harry Blain said, “Despite the support of dedicated gallery staff, I deeply regret that I have been unable to secure the gallery’s future long term. I want to thank all the artists, collectors, institutions, museums, staff and everyone who has worked with the gallery over the last decade.”
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