Marc Glimcher, President and CEO of Pace Gallery, today announced the gallery’s plans to open an expanded gallery space in Seoul, South Korea, occupying two floors of Le Beige Building in the Hannam-dong neighborhood. The new gallery will open on May 27, 2021 with an exhibition of new work by Sam Gilliam, marking the American octogenarian’s debut exhibition in Asia.
Pace opened in Seoul in 2017 as one of the first international galleries to launch a permanent space in the city and one of the first cultural organizations to establish itself in the Hannam-dong district. Eschewing the traditional Samcheong-dong and Gangnam areas, Pace’s presence in Hannam-dong contributed to its current reputation as an artistic neighborhood and hive of creativity. Following Pace’s opening, Phillips auction house, Gana Art Nineone, p21, Bhak, and VSF have all laid foundations in the area. The nearby Leeum Samsung Museum will soon re-open following a major renovation project.
Le Beige Building is considered one of the city’s architectural gems, designed by Minsuk Cho of Mass Studies, who is renowned throughout Korea and was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2014. Mass Studies will also undertake renovation of Pace’s new space, which will incorporate a number of Korean design elements such as burlap screens as dividers to create discrete rooms within the space, and ambient wooden detailing. Le Beige Building totals three floors and Pace will occupy the second and third stories, which totals over 790 sq m of exhibition space with ceiling heights of over 3 m. The area devoted to exhibitions incorporates a balcony overlooking the elm-tree lined street below, which will host sculptural presentations during the summer season.
Marc Glimcher, President and CEO of Pace, says:
“Pace has been operating permanent spaces in Asia for over a decade, and early on we saw the potential of Seoul as a creative hub. As we have demonstrated in Palo Alto, East Hampton, and Palm Beach, we have a strong interest in building artistic communities outside of the traditional art world centers. Seoul was one of our earliest experiments of this kind and we are excited to be doubling down on our commitment to the city with our beautiful new space in a time when its popularity is about to explode. Seoul is on the brink of new cultural investment, with major museums and art fairs interested in the opportunities it has to offer. We are thrilled to have been part of this transformation and look forward to the next phase.”
The Seoul gallery will be led by Youngjoo Lee, who has been a Senior Director at Pace for six years. Lee has 15 years of career experience in the industry, joining Pace in 2015 after working as a curator and sales director at Arario Gallery for eight years. In her previous role, she contributed to globalizing the Asian market by introducing Asian artists to art markets beyond Korea.
Under Lee’s directorship, in its original location Pace has staged the inaugural Korean exhibitions for several contemporary artists of international renown, Tara Donovan, Richard Tuttle, Yto Barrada, Natalie Du Pasquier, Adam Pendleton, and Fred Wilson, among them. In addition to introducing these artists’ work to new local audiences, Pace has presented solo exhibitions by some of the most important artists in Asia, including Song Dong, Qiu Xiaofei, and Lee Kun-Yong, and group exhibitions of historically important artists including its inaugural exhibition In Line which featured works by Josef Albers, Robert Irwin, Sol LeWitt, Liu Jianhua, Robert Mangold, Robert Ryman, and Tony Smith. By Introducing these major artists to a Korean audience, Lee opened up local opportunities and further expanded their prominence in the global arts ecosystem while also diversifying the range of international artists introduced in the country.
Youngjoo Lee, Senior Director of Pace, says:
“Over the past five years Pace has cultivated an unparalleled relationship with the local community in Seoul and our efforts have proved fruitful, especially in establishing Hannam-dong as a creative and commercial hub. During this time, I am also proud to say that Pace has introduced a number of new artists to the region with their first solo exhibitions in Seoul—in the gallery but also within Korea’s vast institutional scene, including Gwangju Biennale, the Seoul Museum of Art; the Daegu Art Museum, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Busan; and the Amore Pacific Museum of Art. Inaugurating our new space with a solo exhibition by Sam Gilliam, at the age of almost 90, marks an exciting new chapter for us in Seoul.”
The inaugural exhibition in Pace’s new space will be devoted to Sam Gilliam, widely considered one of the great innovators in postwar American painting. He emerged from the Washington, D.C. scene in the mid-1960s with works that elaborated upon and disrupted the ethos of Color Field painting and expanded the opportunities of Abstract Expressionism. Inspired by his activism and always an aficionado of American jazz music, he extended the possibilities of picture making in a society undergoing dramatic change.
The Seoul exhibition comprises a series of nine new paintings that continue Gilliam’s signature beveled-edge canvases. However, in his recent work, radical change occurs with the introduction of new materials and techniques. In his layering process, he builds up surfaces by draping thin layers of fabric with densely mixed pigment that may contain sawdust and other detritus from the studio floor. Like an archaeologist, he then digs into the surfaces to reveal layers of color glowing below like fire coming through volcanic ash. Always an alchemist, Gilliam’s paintings take us to a new concept of space as form.
The exhibition runs through July 10. Following its presentation in Seoul, the exhibition will tour to Pace’s space in the H Queen’s building in Hong Kong in July 2021. In spring 2022, the first American museum retrospective of Gilliam’s work in more than 15 years will open at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. The second exhibition at Pace’s new Seoul space will be dedicated to the American titan of sculpture, Joel Shapiro.
Pace is a leading international art gallery representing some of the most influential contemporary artists and estates from the past century, holding decades-long relationships with Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet, Barbara Hepworth, Agnes Martin, Louise Nevelson, and Mark Rothko. Pace enjoys a unique U.S. heritage spanning East and West coasts through its early support of artists central to the Abstract Expressionist and Light and Space movements.
Since its founding by Arne Glimcher in 1960, Pace has developed a distinguished legacy as an artist-first gallery that mounts seminal historical and contemporary exhibitions. Under the current leadership of President and CEO Marc Glimcher, Pace continues to support its artists and share their visionary work with audiences worldwide by remaining at the forefront of innovation. Now in its seventh decade, the gallery advances its mission through a robust global program—comprising exhibitions, artist projects, public installations, institutional collaborations, performances, and interdisciplinary projects. Pace has a legacy in art bookmaking and has published over five hundred titles in close collaboration with artists, with a focus on original scholarship and on introducing new voices to the art historical canon. The gallery has also spearheaded exploration into the intersection of art and technology through new business models, exhibition interpretation tools, and representation of artists engaging with technology.
Today, Pace has nine locations worldwide including London, Geneva, a strong foothold in Palo Alto, and two galleries in New York—its headquarters at 540 West 25th Street, which welcomed almost 120,000 visitors and programmed 20 shows in its first six months and an adjacent 8,000 sq. ft. exhibition space at 510 West 25th Street. Pace was one of the first international galleries to establish outposts in Asia, where it operates permanent gallery spaces in Hong Kong and Seoul, as well as an office and viewing room in Beijing. In 2020, Pace opened temporary exhibition spaces in East Hampton and Palm Beach, with continued programming on a seasonal basis. In fall 2021, Pace will continue to expand its European presence with the opening of a larger gallery space in London.