A bit of non-Armory Show-related news came out of Pier 94 this morning: Pace Gallery will now represent the estate of Tony Smith, the hugely important 20th-century American sculptor known for his massive minimalist creations. Previously, the artist’s estate was handled by Matthew Marks Gallery.
“I would like to say what a great job Matthew did all these years,” said Pace president Marc Glimcher when stopped outside of his booth at the Armory Show today. (Yes, the levitating concrete block is levitating.)
“Sometimes it’s time for a change—and that’s happened to us, too,” he added. “It’s just part of the dynamic now.”
In a press release sent to ARTnews, Pace founder Arne Glimcher noted that the gallery represented Smith during his lifetime and, in a statement, added, “that generation of Abstract Expressionists and early Minimalists are the bedrock the gallery is built upon, and Tony is inextricable from that milieu.”
The switch came about during conversations with the Smith family, which includes the artist’s daughter, Kiki Smith, who has long been repped by Pace Gallery. Glimcher said that one selling point was the development of FuturePace, the gallery’s public art initiative that worked with Studio Drift to develop the floating mass here at Armory. FuturePace deals with what Glimcher described as “monumental work, whether it’s technology based or traditional work,” and Smith’s work has long been sought out as coveted art to place in the public sphere.
“My god, Tony Smith, he’s the granddaddy of them all,” Glimcher said.
He also announced that Pace was able to secure the deal with the estate in time to apply for the 2017 edition of Art Unlimited, the sector of the Art Basel fair in Basel, Switzerland, that showcases work too large for a normal fair booth.
The work that will be on display in Basel is Source (1967), which was most recently at the Storm King Art Center in upstate New York through November 2015.
“It was two days before the deadline,” Glimcher said. “And their response was the same: ‘Oh, yeah. Tony Smith.’ So Tony Smith will be featured in Art Unlimited.”
Work from the estate will have its debut in a Pace space in November 2018, as part of a two-person show, but Glimcher declined to say which of their many galleries it would take over. It probably depends somewhat on shipping.
“He’s one of the most important artists of the 20th century—full stop,” Glimcher added. “And of that group, he’s one of the least appreciated, though for a good reason: It’s very hard to move a Tony Smith around.”