Pace Gallery Closes Palo Alto Space After ‘Consolidating’ West Coast Operations

Having recently opened a new flagship in Los Angeles, Pace Gallery said it would close its space in Palo Alto, California, which it had operated since 2016.

The Palo Alto location, which was sited about an hour outside San Francisco, was marketed as Pace’s attempt to tap a Silicon Valley collector base. When it first launched the space there, Pace had been tapping momentum spurred by the opening of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s expansion.

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Pace’s Palo Alto gallery will close in September, at the end of the run of a Brice Guibert show featuring several large-scale paintings.

In a statement announcing the closure, Pace attributed shuttering the Palo Alto space to “consolidating our operations on the west coast,” referencing the 15,000-square-foot L.A. gallery that Pace gained when it merged with Kayne Griffin, one of the city’s leading galleries. Pace opened that space in April, just after other dealerships, including Lisson and David Zwirner, announced plans to open in the city. Pace has also recently expanded its presences in Seoul and London.

Among the artists to have shown at Pace in Palo Alto was the art-and-tech collective teamLab. More traditional artists, including sculptor James Turrell and painter Agnes Martin, have also been the subject of exhibitions there.

Prior to opening a permanent space in Palo Alto, Pace had launched a pop-up space at a Tesla dealership in 2014 in the nearby city of Menlo Park. One of the exhibitions there was a teamLab show, which aroused suspicion among some because it came with a $20 admission fee, a rarity for a gallery show.

“The engagement of Palo Alto’s technology industry has had a huge and lasting impact on Pace Gallery at a global level,” Pace said in its statement on Tuesday. “Palo Alto also represented the acceleration of our work with experiential artists, where we were able to experiment with new ideas and uncover new perspectives on how art will be made and displayed in the future.”

When Pace opened in Palo Alto, some voiced concerns that Silicon Valley buyers would not necessarily follow. In 2017, Artnet News ran an article called “Is the Elusive Tech Collector Real? Not Quite Yet, Dealers Say” in which dealers in multiple cities recounted failed attempts to court collectors in the tech industry.

Marc Glimcher, president of Pace, spoke optimistically at the time about Palo Alto, claiming that 15 percent of the gallery’s revenue came from its gallery in that city. “You have to earn trust by making a commitment,” he told Artnet.


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