Acknowledging the art market’s dim forecast, Pace Gallery informed some of its previously furloughed employees on Thursday that they would not be returning to work. The layoffs affecting what the gallery said is fewer than 20 workers come after a quarter of the gallery’s New York workforce was furloughed in early April.
“The economic situation caused by the global pandemic means we cannot sustain our previous level of staffing,” said Pace spokeswoman Amelia Redgrift. “This decision was taken after every other measure to ensure we are prepared for an extended period of financial uncertainty and to protect as many jobs as possible in the long-term.”
The news comes after a string of downsizing moves for the gallery industry, including earlier this month when David Zwirner Gallery laid off nearly 40 employees while predicting a 30 percent drop in sales. Earlier this week, another shakeup occurred when the gallerist Gavin Brown announced that he was closing up shop and joining the blue-chip gallerist Barbara Gladstone.
Among those departing Pace is Simon Preston, who joined the gallery less than a year ago as a senior director after closing his own nearly-decade-old New York gallery. Also, according to an internal list reviewed by two former employees, the extent of Pace’s initial round of furloughs—previously numbered around 25—may have been closer to 50.
Pace declined to comment about specific employees leaving as a result of the cuts but said that remaining furloughed staff would be returning to work.
Correction July 24, 2020, 6:35 p.m.: A previous version of the article referred to two furloughed employees who voluntarily resigned while on furlough. According to the gallery, this was not the case.