Mixing commercial and public art

August 25 2014

Image of Mixing commercial and public art

Picture: TAN

The Art Newspaper reports that the Gallery of Modern Art in Rome is building a wing which will house works on loan from the Gagosian Gallery next door:

Rome’s modern art museum, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Roma Capitale, is planning an extension that will display contemporary works on loan from its commercial neighbour Gagosian, La Repubblica reports.

Rome’s urban planning commissioner Giovanni Caudo is working on the development of a new wing in an area that lies between the two buildings on Via Francesco Crispi and was formerly used by AMA, the capital’s waste collection agency. The projected 2265 sq. m expansion will allow the museum to exhibit more of its collection. 

To supplement the permanent holdings of late 19th-century and early 20th-century works, a courtyard space will also host temporary displays of sculptures by Gagosian artists such as Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst or Franz West. The commercial gallery is “ready to collaborate with the public institution”, Caudo says.

Often, the ethical dangers of a relationship between a commercial gallery and a public one are overstated. But in this case it looks rather strange. In the contemporary world, museum endorsement is key to establishing the status and value of an artist. A rotating display between dealership and museum benefits Gagosian hugely, and one has to ask what the museum gets in return, save the chance to display yet another Koons toy.

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