Dealer Rod Barton, who has run a London gallery since 2009, doing shows with artists like Chris Succo, Brad Troemel, and Chris Hood, will open a new space in Brussels next year. “It’s a little bit nerve-racking,” Barton told me, when I caught him by the phone today. “I’ve run two spaces before, but always in the same city.” Nevertheless, he was generally feeling confident about the new venture.
Barton said that, for now, he will continue to operate his London space, in the increasingly hip Peckham area of the British capital, but that the main thrust of his programming will move to Brussels. Now open by appointment, the new place will swing its doors open to the public on January 21 with a solo show of new acrylic works by the Copenhagen–based artist Luc Fuller, who will have drawings on view at the dealer’s London location.
The space in the Belgian capital is located at 67 Rue de la Régence, an address near the tony center of the city that is also home to Brussels stalwarts like Jan Mot, Catherine Bastide, Sorry We’re Closed, Mon Cheri, and the Independent art fair, which recently began hosting residencies by international galleries. (The Brussels outpost of Gladstone Gallery is also nearby.) “It’s the very last space to be given out to a gallery,” Barton said of the spot he nabbed in the building.
Why Brussels? “Two things,” Barton explained. One, his parents have lived there since the early 1990s, and he grew up there for a bit, attending a British school, so he feels comfortable with the city. Two, “It’s cost effective,” he said. “If I was trying to find an equivalent space in London, I would have to be paying through the nose. I would rather pay my own son’s private tuition rather than someone else’s.”
The expansion comes after a whirlwind few years for Barton that were marked by a red-hot market and some of his young artists decamping for larger galleries. “I got in quite early with this whole kind of movement of abstract process-based painting,” he said. “I was really into, and I still am into, that kind of painting without actually using paint. It’s something I’ve been pursuing since 2007, and I just happened to be in a very good position with speculative period from 2013 until early this year, and benefited a lot from that.”
Now a new chapter begins. “My main aim is to find and nurture real, true collectors,” he said, noting that “Belgians are known to be very good collectors and clients.”
His basic plan, he added, is to “just keep on trucking.”