Harry Blain, cofounder of Blain Southern, has announced the closure of its galleries in London, Berlin and New York, stating he’s ‘unable to secure the gallery’s future’. The news follows reports of financial troubles, which have been affecting the gallery in the past year, and a flurry of departures of gallery artists and senior staff members.
Blain cofounded the gallery in 2010 with Graham Southern, but in November, Southern announced he was parting ways with his longtime partner. Around the same time, artists Jake & Dinos Chapman and Sean Scully announced they were cutting ties with the gallery. In December, Henning Strassburger also left, followed by Rachel Howard in early January, and Mat Collishaw, who announced his departure on social media this week.
Rumours of financial strains redoubled when Charles Saumarez-Smith, the former Royal Academy director poached by Blain Southern in 2018, stepped down as senior director back in December, a month after the departure of director of exhibitions Craig Burnett.
According to Artnet News, the gallery is now asking artists to pay for the return of their own work from storage facility, with Blain quoting the gallery’s ‘difficult financial position’. Scully, meanwhile, is engaged in a dispute with the firm regarding the sale of his artworks.
The gallery was Blain and Southern’s second art-dealing venture, after they sold their first dealership, Haunch of Venison, to Christie’s back in 2007. The first gallery opened in London in 2010, followed by a second location in Berlin in 2011. They then opened a third space in New York last May, moving into the former Cheim & Read Chelsea location, but in November announced the building was being bought by Marlborough Gallery, forcing them to relocate.
13 February 2020