Park View, a gallery in Los Angeles, is headed to Brussels, where it will open its second space with a show by Angeleno artist Dylan Mira on March 23. The new location will open its doors at 23 Avenue Jef Lambeaux, in a building from 1910 that the Belgian architect Joseph Van Neck designed and used as his home.
“I had ended up here a number of times over the past few years and, while I was at first perplexed and not really understanding the place, this sense of puzzlement led slowly to a love affair,” Paul Soto, the gallery’s owner, said in an email. “I was encouraged by several artist and curator friends living here who have been part of the community for a while, including Gabriel Kuri, Frances Horn, and Lilou Vidal, and their support eventually tipped the scale for me when I was making a plan to expand. Los Angeles has been fantastically supportive, but, to me, the model of a traditional big box expansion in one city is outdated.”
Soto, who began his gallery in L.A. in 2014, is not alone among contemporary dealers setting up shop in Brussels in recent years. Clearing, which opened in Brooklyn in 2011, quickly expanded to the city in 2012, and in 2015, London dealer Rod Barton said he would expand to the European Union stronghold. The city also includes veteran dealers like Xavier Hufkens, Barbara Gladstone, Jan Mot, Rodolphe Janssen, Almine Rech, and many more.
Noting that the Belgians have a long history of supporting Conceptual art, Soto said that “their overall commitment to innovation and discovery gave me a sense that there is an audience here that is very receptive to new visions from the outside. The community in Brussels is very positive and open to newcomers, and I have felt nothing but good vibes so far.”
Soto, whose intergenerational roster is made up of Victoria Colmegna, Luchita Hurtado, Riccardo Paratore, Autumn Ramsey, and Mark A. Rodriguez, also revealed that he is tweaking the name of his gallery, from Park View (the name of the L.A. street on which it is located, near MacArthur Park) to Park View/Paul Soto.
It takes more than half a day to fly from L.A. to Brussels, and there is a seven-hour time difference between the two cities, but Soto said there are characteristics that unite the two cities. “On a day-to-day level, Brussels is a beautiful and complicated place, not unlike L.A., with its tangles of people and snarled traffic,” he said.
And he added, “On a social level, Brussels to me embodies all of the challenges of cosmopolitanism at the moment, yet it is a place where heterogeneity persists, and mutual self-respect for individuals and their identities feels very alive. Because of this it felt like the perfect location to plant myself and begin to promote American artists, particularly those from the West Coast and their European and Latin American counterparts in my program.”