Artist Matthew Day Jackson is switching mega-galleries. After more than a decade at Hauser & Wirth, he’s now set to be shown globally by Pace Gallery, which will represent him alongside Grimm Gallery, Pace announced on Tuesday.
It is rare, although not entirely unheard of, for artists to hop between mega-galleries. Jeff Koons left David Zwirner and Gagosian for Pace last year. Meanwhile, earlier this year, Harold Ancart departed Zwirner for Gagosian.
“I am excited to start a new chapter in my career with people I have been friends with for a long time,” Jackson said in a statement. “I am excited to share my work in a great context and within a history of some of the world’s greatest artists.”
The reasons vary significantly for why artists leave mega-galleries, and it wasn’t immediately clear what had caused Jackson to defect from Hauser & Wirth, which has represented him since 2010 and presented some of his most widely seen exhibitions.
Marc Payot, president of Hauser & Wirth, said in an email to ARTnews, “Pace will be a good fit for Matthew. We wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career.”
Pace is planning to show Jackson’s work at the inaugural edition of the Frieze Seoul fair this September. A solo show for Jackson will follow at Pace’s New York gallery in 2023.
Jackson’s work has taken the form of grand paintings series, sculptures, installations, and more that evoke a queasy mixture of wonderment and disgust. Their focus is often the natural world, the sublime, and what it means to truly be alive. His works have ranged from sculptures of flayed skins in vitrines to photographs in which he pictures himself as though he were dead.
His art has provoked strong reactions from critics. In 2013, New York Magazine critic Jerry Saltz wrote of a show at Hauser & Wirth, “This dolefully atrocious show looks like a relic from 2004, when Damien Hirst was in the final stage of moving from truculence into blowsy bathos.” Saltz claimed that the artist had fallen prey to the bigger-is-better ethos of mega-galleries.
Despite this, many in the upper echelons of the art market have taken to his art. In 2010, the New York Times reported that Laurence Graff, who ranks on the ARTnews Top 200 Collectors list, had paid more than $928,000 at auction for a painting by Jackson, eclipsing the work’s high estimate more than 15 times over. Collector François Pinault was also reported to have bought Jackson’s work.
Marc Glimcher, president and CEO of Pace Gallery, said in a statement, “I’ve always been struck by his engagement with historical, philosophical, and pop cultural subjects—Matt can take a big idea and give it new emotional and personal resonance. Through his multidisciplinary practice, Matt has proven himself to be one of the most versatile and virtuosic artists of his generation.”