As it continues to grow its international presence, Pace Gallery will move its location in Seoul to a significantly larger space. Upgrading from a 925 square-foot gallery to one across the street with more than 8,500 square feet of exhibition space, Pace will relocate its Seoul space to the Le Beige Building in the South Korean capital’s Hannam-dong neighborhood. The new location will open on May 27 with a solo show of Sam Gilliam.
Over the past few years, Pace has been actively growing its locations in various cities around the world. In 2019, the gallery opened its flagship seven-floor space in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, with some 16,500 square feet. Later this year, it will inaugurate a new location in London’s Hanover neighborhood with 8,600 square feet, making the new Seoul space its third-largest location. (The gallery also has spaces in Hong Kong; Geneva, Switzerland; and Palo Alto, California, as well as seasonal ones in East Hampton, New York, and Palm Beach, Florida.)
In an interview, Marc Glimcher, Pace’s president and CEO, said the Seoul expansion is part of the gallery’s considered growth strategy. “We’re growing, but I like to think we grow very carefully and thoughtfully,” he said. “We start really small in a city and see if it’s successful. It’s about the people first, not the space. We are really interested in going to cities where we really add to the equation and that city can have an interesting impact on us.”
Pace opened its Seoul space in 2017, and since then, it has been spearheaded by senior director Youngjoo Lee, who joined Pace in 2015. Among the artists who had their first solo shows in South Korea there have been Fred Wilson, Tara Donovan, Richard Tuttle, and Adam Pendleton.
“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,” Lee said in an email. “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.”
Pace’s expansion in Seoul comes as art market activity picks up in the South Korean capital. The galleries Various Small Fires and König have recently opened spaces in the city, and Phillips inaugurated an auction house there in 2018. Frieze is reportedly looking into launching a Seoul fair.
Designed by Minsuk Cho, who won the Golden Lion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014, the Le Beige Building was originally created as a hub for different restaurants. Cho’s firm Mass Studies will renovate Pace’s new location, which will occupy the second and third floors of the building.
Gilliam’s exhibition, the artist’s first in South Korea, will present a series of 10 new paintings that expand on his beveled-edge canvases, a series begun in the 1960s. Gilliam’s new abstract canvases, some of which measure 6 feet by 6 feet, will also take advantage of the new location’s over 9.5-foot-tall ceilings.
Speaking more broadly of the gallery’s presence in South Korea, Glimcher said, “It has the most incredible history of collecting and being engaged in American art, the most incredible history of supporting its own contemporary art, and especially the most incredible history of art making for 3,000 years. What’s not to like?”