Established London galleries Vilma Gold and Ibid are to shut their London spaces. Vilma Gold announced yesterday that it will close to concentrate on what they call “a new model of collaboration” with its artists. Rachel Williams, the gallery owner and director, who started the business alongside Steve Pippett in 2000 said they would “continue to work on behalf of the gallery artists.”
Artists include • CHARLES ATLAS • TRISHA BAGA • KP BREHMER • NICHOLAS BYRNE • WILLIAM DANIELS • VLADIMIR DUBOSSARSKY & ALEXANDER VINOGRADOV • STEPHEN DWOSKIN • ROCHELLE FEINSTEIN • GENOVEVA FILIPOVIC • FELIX GMELIN • BRIAN GRIFFITHS • SOPHIE VON HELLERMANN • LYNN HERSHMAN LEESON • HOBBYPOPMUSEUM • LUCAS KNIPSCHER • ALAN MICHAEL • MARLIE MUL • OLIVER OSBORNE • KARTHIK PANDIAN • LUTHER PRICE • JOSÉ ROJAS • HANNAH SAWTELL • MARKUS SELG • JOSEF STRAU • PHILIPP TIMISCHL • MARK TITCHNER • JENNIFER WEST • ROBIN WINTERS • ANNA ZACHAROFF.
“The nature of the art world has changed significantly in recent years” – Rachel Williams
Vilma Gold has a good solid eye but is stuck in the mid-range abyss within the gallery hierarchy. The current list of artists falls short on international reputation with few names actually able to sustain the costs of keeping the space open. No doubt Vilma Gold will continue to do the major art fairs like Frieze and Art Basel which seems the way ahead for many in the trade these days. if this gallery is suffering an economic downturn it is down to a poor website which is out of touch with what a modern gallery’s website should deliver and a noticeable lack of social media presence. The gallery was also hopeless at putting together a press release, let alone supplying listing information to advertise upcoming shows. To be quite honest, this was not fair to the artists, as the sole function of a gallery is to promote their artists.
Vilma Gold put out the following message yesterday:
The nature of the art world has changed significantly in recent years. Where a gallery was once centred around a physical space where artists, collectors and curators could engage directly with the exhibition programme, the focus has now shifted towards an endlessly accelerating global cycle of fairs which has impacted on the relevance of this traditional model.
I feel the time has come for me to step off this path, spend time with my family, and begin working towards a new model of collaboration with both living artists and estates- in the meantime, the office will continue to work on behalf of the gallery artists and the estates of KP Bremer and Stephen Dworkin for the foreseeable future.
Although this new direction is to some extent a walk into the unknown, I am also very excited about the possibilities presented by this new chapter, and I hope that I will continue to collaborate with the many friends and colleagues I have had the pleasure of working alongside for the past 18 years.
Rachel Williams – Vilma Gold (Gallery)
The second London gallery to close is the Ibid Gallery. It was located in Margaret Street, from 2014 after moving from the East End. The gallery was started by Magnus Edensvard who also opened a 13,000 square-foot location in the Boyle Heights neighbourhood of Los Angeles. Again, the artist roster lacks a recognisable name. This gallery does have a social media presence but the website is all over the place in terms of design and functionality. I must add that this is another example of a gallery that never sent a press release or promoted their shows outside of their limited mailing list.
“In the last five or so years, the center of London has become the essential place to have a gallery,” Edensvard told ARTnews by phone from Hong Kong, where Ibid has a booth at the Art Basel fair. “[But] looking at the price points of a lot of the artists’ works we sell and also the frequency with which we met our clients at a gallery, we felt that the economy started to make less and less sense for a gallery like us.” Edensvard added that about 95 percent of sales with the London gallery’s clientele have increasingly moved to art fairs and other locations, like the L.A. space. “We felt that it doesn’t make sense to sit on this traditional gallery model in the center of London only to sell to our London-based clients all around the world,” he said. “There’s something in this model that feels outdated, and it’s something that’s unsustainable on our level.”