Virginia Verran in her show of Bruce Bernard photographs
Gagosian, 20 Grosvenor Hill, London W1K 3QD (plus three other London venues
gagosian.com Instagram: @gagosian
Gagosian is a behemoth: 20 galleries and 2 shops across countries – with three galleries and a shop in London. Simply producing its plush 200 page quarterly magazine is a bigger business than running a small gallery, with 40 contributors to the typical issue (much of which can be read online for free) and a dozen editorial and design staff involved. Gagosian also set the template for employing security staff separately from gallery assistants to underline the value of the art. That means that in the typical space you need to search out someone to talk to about the art. All of which might lead you to expect impersonality, but actually the staff are friendly and helpful behind the somewhat imposing facade. Larry Gagosian himself has succession plans in place but remains very actively in charge at 77, 50 years older than his girlfriend, artist Anna Weyant – who is now represented by him and indeed features heavily in the latest quarterly magazine alongside articles on FRIENDS AND RELATIONS: Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Michael Andrews (to Jan 28). That show, unusually, is so big it carries on upstairs – including a room of photographs of the four artists, some not previously printed, which would make a significant exhibition on its own. They were taken by Bruce Bernard (1928-2000) and the choice of images was made by the painter @virginiarverran Verran, who has been the custodian of Bernard’s work since his death. Many are playful, making the relationship between the photographer and his artist friends part of the picture. My image shows her alongside a portrait of Frank Auerbach from a session in 2000 at which Verran was present to assist the seriously ill Bernard.
London’s gallery scene is varied, from small artist-run spaces to major institutions and everything in between. Each week, art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent gives a personal view of a space worth visiting.