Issue Number: 118
The Director of Pace London, which has recently moved into the RA’s Burlington Gardens space, tells Sarah Greenberg why London is now the global hub of the art world.
Why did Pace open a gallery in London?
Pace has been operating for 53 years in New York, five in Beijing. A London presence gives our artists access to European museums and also to the international collectors who come here. To my mind, London is now the hub of the art world, as much as New York. It’s a crossroads of international business and art, where cultural conversations happen: we’ve got great museums and galleries here, and you feel as though putting on a show here has relevance.
Love me, love my dog: Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst shows Keith Tyson at Pace London. Photo © Bill Burlington
Why did you move into the RA’s Burlington Gardens space?
We wanted a London character, high ceilings and the right space. Where better than the RA in the heart of Mayfair, near the auction houses and galleries.
Tell me about Keith Tyson’s paintings
‘Panta Rhei’, the title of his exhibition, refers to Greek philosophy and his idea of the continual flow of ideas, whether scientific or artistic, through space and time. He makes personal connections with objects like bricks from his childhood, trees that he’s seen, memories of his father, and he develops these through his paint technique, scraping paint over the surface.
Pace manages the estates of artists such as Rothko, Calder and De Kooning. Will you be showing their work here?
In May we are showing Calder from 1945-49, when he was in New York making monumental works. It’s the biggest gallery show of Calder to come to London.
How did you get involved in art?
I’ve always been interested in art and, growing up at Sudeley Castle, I was surrounded by art. After I left university I wanted to be a photographer but it didn’t work out. I got a job in Sotheby’s photographic department and ended up in their contemporary department in New York.
Your art epiphany?
On a road trip to Marfa, Texas with the late David Sylvester. It was on a steely grey cold winter’s day standing among the Donald Judd sculptures that I realised that art could be a spiritual journey.
You organise contemporary sculpture shows at Sudeley Castle. How has that affected your thinking about art?
It helped me to think about contemporary work in different settings – it is one thing to see art in a pure white gallery, quite another to connect it with different histories.
Who would you like to paint or sculpt you?
How do you relax?
Walking my dog Mamba.
Best show at the RA?
I have loved them all, especially Hockney, Bronze and Manet.
A book on art you can’t live without?
Gerhard Richter Patterns (Thames & Hudson).
Favourite place to look at art?
The Beyeler Foundation outside Basel.
New kids on the block you are watching?
The artist Kevin Francis Gray and the gallerists Kate MacGarry and Nettie Horn and fashion designers Kinder Aggugini and Mary Katrantzou.
Whose work would you collect if you could?
De Kooning. He’s an extraordinary painter who connected Europe and America.
What have you learned from working with artists?
Artists have a different way of looking. I remember Cy Twombly talking about the sea, and he said ‘The sea is white, you’ve got to look at it and see that it’s white.’ To a painter that might have meant something about technique and how you mix the paints. But to me it was more conceptual.
The art world’s best kept secret?
The Estorick Collection in Islington with all the fantastic Italian Futurists. The Alberto di Fabio show on now (until 7 April) is a must-see.