Pace Gallery Unveils a Game-Changing Global Flagship in Manhattan

Stephen Wallis

As New York’s Chelsea neighborhood continues its post–High Line makeover as a luxury real estate haven, some of the biggest galleries have an answer: Go bigger. On September 14, Pace will unveil a 75,000-square-foot, eight-story building created to be “a new kind of machine for displaying and selling art,” says architect Dominic Kozerski of Bonetti/Kozerski, which designed the structure in collaboration with Pace and the developer, Weinberg Properties. Clad in aluminum and volcanic-stone panels, the striking building will serve as Pace’s global flagship (which was one of AD's 14 Most Anticipated Buildings of 2019), joining branches in London, Geneva, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Palo Alto.

“Artists today need a different kind of venue to push boundaries,” says Pace president Marc Glimcher. “You have to go beyond just giving them someplace larger.” Occupying the structure’s first three floors are flexible, column-free exhibition spaces, including a 3,600-square-foot gallery with 18-foot-tall ceilings at street level, as well as more intimate spaces such as a by-appointment research library. But what really sets the building apart is what’s up top. On the sixth floor, Kozerski and his partner, Enrico Bonetti, devised a sprawling terrace—open on two sides—that will accommodate both exhibitions and events. “Being outside, 100 feet up, interacting with art is going to make it a really unique place,” notes Kozerski.

The opening of the new space coincides with the gallery’s 60th anniversary.
Photo by Thomas Loof. Image courtesy of Pace Gallery.
The sixth-floor terrace.
Photo by Thomas Loof. Image courtesy of Pace Gallery.

Hovering 15 feet above the terrace is a glass-walled box, the building’s eye-catching crown. Inside, there’s a double-height, 2,200-square-foot gallery for multimedia installations, performances, screenings, and other public programs, as well as an upper level with rooms for hosting intimate dinners and VIP meetings. “I wanted to make a space where we could have fun,” says Glimcher, who promises music and dancing. “There will be very serious things happening in there, but we will have a good time.”

Alexander Calder, Object with Red Ball, 1931. Wood, sheet metal, rod, wire, and paint. 61-1/4" × 38-1/2" × 12-1/4" (155.6 cm × 97.8 cm × 31.1 cm) No. 73018.
Image courtesy of Calder Foundation, New York / Art Resource, New York © 2019 Calder Foundation, New York/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

This is what it now looks like keeping up with the Joneses—in this case, the Zwirners and the Hauser & Wirths, which have embarked on their own large-scale building projects in Chelsea. Gagosian, meanwhile, is expanding the larger of its two Chelsea locations by annexing adjacent spaces previously occupied by Pace and by Mary Boone (who is now in prison for tax fraud). It’s not merely a game of one-upmanship, it’s part of competing as a top-tier global gallery. For Pace, which has operated multiple spaces in New York for years, it means being able to consolidate everything in one place. (Though Weinberg Properties owns the building, Pace has signed a long-term lease, reportedly 20 years.)

A view from below.
Photo by Thomas Loof. Image courtesy of Pace Gallery.

Reflecting the diverse range of Pace’s roster, the inaugural shows will include early Alexander Calder pieces, new works by David Hockney and buzzy abstract painter Loie Hollowell, and a selection of Fred Wilson’s chandelier sculptures. As Pace looks toward its 60th anniversary next year, Glimcher emphasizes that artists are still the gallery’s core, but the mission has expanded, with 1,000 active clients and more than 800,000 Instagram followers. “They want to be consumers of an art experience,” he says, emphasizing how critical it is now to be accessible and welcoming. “We want people to walk into the gallery and feel like, I’m going to do all kinds of things, see all kinds of things. I’m going to have a great day here.” pacegallery.com

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest