Haunch of Venison makes New York debut

UK contemporary art gallery Haunch of Venison is making its first foray into the US market, with the opening of a space designed by Steven Learner Studio.

It is Haunch of Venison’s first major venture since being controversially acquired by international auction house Christie’s last year.

Final touches are being put to the 1860m2 exhibition space located in the Rockefeller Center in New York City. ‘The gallery is unique in that it is not in the traditional gallery district of Chelsea, but in the heart of Manhattan on the 20th and 21st floors of a landmark 1930s building,’ says Haunch of Venison international managing director Robert Fitzpatrick.

The two-storey, five-room gallery space with dramatic atrium and series of skylights, conceived by New York architect and interior designer Learner, has been designed to create an interplay between the exhibition space and the city.

Fitzpatrick explains, ‘This is not the standard white cube. We have views of the city from every single gallery. At one point it is possible to turn your head to the right and see the Hudson river, and if you turn your head to the left you can see the East river. It’s a way of encountering Manhattan that most people never have. Using the blind and window system, we can choose to disengage or include the city, depending on the interplay you want.’

Separate exhibition walls to the gallery perimeter create a circulation space, and highlight original exposed brickwork from the 1930s Raymond Hood-designed building, according to Fitzpatrick. A series of private viewing rooms for sales transactions allow clients to consider potential purchases in a more home-based setting.

‘Here we’ve tried to create a more quiet and intimate environment, with furnishings in a mostly vintage, classic, contemporary style to give a sense of scale, so clients can imagine how, say, a Warhol, would be in their apartment,’ says Fitzpatrick.

The New York office of UK consultancy Marque Creative is currently working on the identity and marketing materials for the gallery’s first show, Abstract Expressionism – A World Elsewhere. The group won a three-way pitch against New York consultancies Base and 2×4 to create a catalogue, private view invitations (pictured), title graphics and advertising for the show curated by UK art historian David Anfam.

Marque Creative group managing director Mark Noe says, ‘We had to produce the work under the Haunch of Venison umbrella identity [created by Spin] following guidelines, but capture the spirit of the Abstract Expressionist period by looking back to typography of the time, as well as using photography that has been previously unseen.’ Lead designer on the project Lisa Smith helped to track down the photographic material through Gloria McDarrah, whose husband shot many of the images used.

Abstract Expressionism – A World Elsewhere, which runs from 13 September until 12 November, will feature pieces by Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, among others, on loan from private collections, as well as from Tate and New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

The brits are coming

• Haunch of Venison represents artists including Keith Tyson, Bill Viola, Nathan Coley, Dan Flavin, Bill Fontana and James Rosenquist
• It has branches in London, Zurich and Berlin
• Established in 2002 by directors Graham Southern and Harry Blain, the gallery’s success has escalated in the past four years, finding a niche between the commercial and experimental
• Its takeover by Christie’s was beset with controversy because of possible conflicts of interest between the economic dynamics of the primary and secondary art markets

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