Artfarm has bought the Groucho Club, Artfarm – Manuela and Iwan Wirth’s independent hospitality and development company – marks a new chapter for the Groucho that could include international expansion.
Founded in 1985 by a group of publishers and agents it was the benchmark for a new generation of members clubs. It was where Damien Hirst celebrated his Turner prize by putting his £20,000 winnings behind the bar in 1995.
We’re deeply fond of the Groucho Club. It’s famed for being a hub for creatives. We also love the genesis, that it was founded out of a desire for women to have somewhere they could go to meet like-minded people, in a city that was dominated by men’s clubs.said Ewan Venters, the CEO of Artfarm and Hauser & Wirth.
The Groucho’s name derives from the Groucho Marx quip – “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member” – and down the years, that maverick spirit has been kept alive by successive generations of artists, writers and musicians.
Venters said he understood the “special place” the Groucho occupies in London’s cultural landscape and that Artfarm would respect its history and traditions.
“Whenever the Groucho is referred to, it’s to great names and moments in the past, and I’m a huge believer in looking to the future and making sure we’re creating new history.”
There are about 150 artworks in the Groucho collection, including pieces from members Bacon, Blake, Turk, Tracey Emin and Gordon Cheung. Venters said he hoped new ownership would spark a renewed interest among members, drive awareness to a younger generation of creatives and open the door to new territories.