Marian Goodman Gallery’s New Leaders Prepare for the Future by Honoring Its Founder’s Legacy

How might a renowned contemporary art gallery move beyond its founder? This is a question currently circulating at Marian Goodman Gallery. In 2021, shortly after its namesake turned 93, the gallery announced that Goodman, who opened up shop in 1977, was stepping aside from daily operations, and that a partnership was taking over. Though Goodman retained the title of CEO, operations since then have been led by a president, former curator Philipp Kaiser, working in concert with four longtime gallery directors newly named partners. kristalqq

As the art world emerged from pandemic-related lockdown, the arrangement appeared auspicious: in June 2022 the partners announced they would open a branch in Los Angeles, which had recently become a magnet for New York galleries. But then, last December, came news that superstar painter Gerhard Richter, whom Goodman had represented for almost 40 years, was leaving for gallery giant David Zwirner. kristalqq

This past February, the partners announced a plan to move the gallery’s longtime headquarters from 57th Street to Tribeca, the city’s hottest new gallery district; upon its planned opening in mid-to-late 2024, Marian Goodman will be among the largest galleries there, at 30,000 square feet, double its current size in Manhattan. Then, the following month brought another artist defection: photographer Nan Goldin, fresh off an Academy Award–nominated documentary about her activism targeting the Sackler family, announced she was joining Gagosian. Goldin had been with Goodman for just five years, but her departure prompted a headline in the New York Times: “Nan Goldin Is Second Major Artist to Exit Marian Goodman Gallery.” And the article’s kicker read like a twist of the knife: “[Goldin] wished nothing but the best for her former dealership: ‘I hope it lasts. I hope it continues.’”

Succession plans at galleries have been a hot topic of late, esteemed dealers like Paula Cooper, Larry Gagosian, Barbara Gladstone, and Paul Kasmin (who died two years ago) implementing such plans. Now, with the new LA space having opened in late September with a show by Steve McQueen, the question remains: is the Goodman brand strong enough to outlive the presence of Marian Goodman? kristalqq