At a recent preview of Thomas Ruff’s large-scale photographs of the planet Mars, the gallery owner David Zwirner distributed 3-D glasses to enhance the attendees’ viewing experience. But one needs no glasses to see that Zwirner, who is celebrating his 20th year in the business, operates in his own unique dimension, running a large, well-oiled art-sales machine that maintains respect for its artists’ vision and sense of playfulness. Zwirner’s stable includes such major contemporary figures as Neo Rauch, Gordon Matta-Clark, and Yayoi Kusama, as well as members of the haute fringe, such as Raymond Pettibon and even R. Crumb. Zwirner also represents the estates of Dan Flavin, Alice Neel, and Jason Rhoades, among others.
This past year brought two expansions for the German-born, New York–based dealer: A second gallery, in a Georgian townhouse in London, and—more significantly—a huge new five-story space in Chelsea, just a block uptown from his West 19th Street offices. With private viewing rooms, two public exhibition areas, and an outdoor roof space for sculpture, the new Chelsea gallery is “like a mini-museum,” says marketing director Julia Joern. If the past is any indication, the gallery will certainly exude Zwirner’s signature informality and welcoming warmth—traits that fetch a premium in the rarefied contemporary art world.
David Zwirner, 212.727.2070, www.davidzwirner.com