New York’s Malin Gallery will establish a new, permanent gallery space in Aspen, Colorado, the gallery announced Thursday.
Malin is the latest New York gallery to expand to the Colorado hub since the start of the pandemic — a period that forced galleries to go to where their collectors flocked.
In 2021, Malin, along with Lévy Gorvy, Lehmann Maupin, Almine Rech, and others, gave Aspen a shot with several pop-up exhibitions. Owner Barry Thomas Malin told ARTnews the period was critical— allowing the enterprise to expand contact with the local collector base, many of whom have ties to the West Coast, and to build relationships with museums in the meantime.
The new outpost spans a modest 1,200 square feet in exhibition space and is located on East Durant Avenue in close proximity to Christie’s Aspen location. The second permanent location since the gallery’s founding in 2015, the Aspen outpost will be used to expand the dealer’s focus on contemporary artists engaged with social issues—some of whom have long flown under-the-radar, Malin said.
The inaugural exhibition, set to open on February 27 following Frieze Los Angeles, will showcase works by Texas-born artist Foad Satterfield. Satterfield is considered a “near-abstract” painter, who merges Impressionist influences in his bucolic landscape paintings with references to racial trauma in the American South.
ARTnews spoke via email with Malin ahead of the upcoming opening to talk about what prompted the expansion and how the pandemic years have opened new opportunities.
This interview has been edited for concision and clarity.
How has the presence of other galleries that opened outposts in Aspen during the pandemic set in place changes in the hub?
We were one of nine New York-based galleries that did pop-ups in Aspen during the summer of 2021. However, the local real estate market heated up dramatically thereafter. In 2022, we were the only New York gallery that returned for a second summer, in part because there were essentially no appropriately-sized spaces available. Starting in the fall of 2022, we began to look intensively for a long-term space. It was quite difficult to find something suitable, but we are very happy with the final location.
Can you tell me about what the gallery has learned from its Aspen pop ups?
I was previously aware that there was a significant collector base in the area and that ArtCrush drew collectors and museum folks from a wide geographic range. One benefit of showing in Aspen rather than New York is that viewers tend to be more relaxed and inclined to take more time with the work. Moreover, as many of the collectors are also based in New York, the relationships forged in Aspen tend to benefit our New York location as well.
In New York, the public, collector and institutional audiences are vast. How will the strategy for bringing artists to the new location, where the main audience consists of private collectors affect the gallery’s programming there?
Relative to the size of the town, there is a surprisingly large group of collectors and institutional folks – particularly during ArtCrush. Depending on the time of the year, bringing artists out while we are showing their work has been very effective. It allows the artists to do frequent walk-throughs of the gallery, and it tends to encourage more viewership in general. We host fewer formal events like lectures, because people are generally in the mood for fun while they are in Aspen. We have found that dinner and social events are great ways to foster relationships for our artists. Again, the more relaxed pace in Aspen helps to foster such connections.
Can you tell me about your choice of Foad Satterfield for the space’s debut exhibition? How will Satterfield’s work, and the gallery’s progressive program, continue to resonate in this new location?
Superficially, his paintings bear a resemblance to landscapes, but that is only one aspect of his work. I thought Foad’s work would resonate nicely with the surrounding natural features in Aspen. Moreover, Foad brings to bear upon his work his experiences as an African American man growing up in the Jim Crow south, being drafted involuntarily into the army during Vietnam and then working as an academic painter for the last 30 years or so in Northern California. All of those experiences inform the work and can be appreciated by the viewer. As I think that relatively few African American artists are shown in Aspen outside of the Aspen Art Museum, Foad seemed like a great inaugural choice.
How are you envisioning the gallery’s programming for the future?
In terms of curatorial approach, I anticipate our program evolving in Aspen in concert with our New York location. It does give us the opportunity to present work in a more intimate setting given the size of the gallery.