In a time when the art world is less and less about exclusivity and increasingly concerned with mass-market appeal, Andy Warhol’s infamous maxim, ‘good business is the best art’, has never seemed more apt – and New York’s Gagosian Gallery is one institution that has recently bowed to the cause.
So, from one Andy to another, Andy Avini, - long term man behind the scenes at the Gagosian and established artist in his own right – has recently helped to pull together the Gagosian’s Madison Avenue’s latest addition, the Gagosian Gallery Store.
Opened at the beginning of this month, the 2.500 square foot space plays host to a staggering array of purchasable one-off items and limited-edition pieces from the Gagosian’s intimidating troupe of big-name artists – and, as such, has helped inject a much-needed dose of joie de vivre to the gallery’s staid Uptown Manhattan locale.
Avini, in collaboration with the design teams at Daniel Rowen Architects and MN Design (along with the myriad creative names to which the Gagosian plays host), has replicated the Gagosian’s white cube aesthetic for the store.
Originally proposed by Avini as a logical showcase for the Gagosian’s expansive range of art publications, Larry Gagosian himself ran with the concept, which has resulted in the gallery-cum-art-supermarket that now resides in its shiny new Madison Avenue home.
Designed as an equal forum on which both the Gagosian’s artists and the gallery visitors can meet, the store will feature regular rolling projects and exhibitions alongside the books and prints. Kicking off this month, the residencies will begin with the launch of Richard Prince’s ‘perfect’ artist’s book, Bettie Kline, and a section of the store dedicated entirely to London-based purveyor of limited-edition art-world work, Other Criteria.
Whilst Avini would never lay favour upon any single piece in-store, he sites Jeff Koons’s iconic puppy planters, Anselm Reyle’s ‘fantastic value’ hand-painted book and Ed Ruscha’s beautiful artist’s book box as a few of the store's most important items – Damien Hirst’s paint splattered ‘hallucinatory head’ and Marc Newson’s understated Damask Knife also stand out.
Perhaps more importantly however – particularly in an era of such increasing artistic democracy – Avini sites accessibility as the key motivation behind the project, claiming that the Gagosian ‘must be aware of its street level presence. Art should be for everyone'.