Art World Tests Silicon Valley Market with New Shows, Pop-Up Gallery

Lino Tagliapietra, “Africa”, 2013, blown glass, 10.25 x 19.25″ x 19.25″.  From Schantz Gallery, Silicon Valley Contemporary.
Lino Tagliapietra, “Africa”, 2013, blown glass, 10.25 x 19.25″ x 19.25″. From Schantz Gallery, Silicon Valley Contemporary.
(Schantz Gallery)

Two new contemporary art fairs and a prominent New York dealer's pop-up art gallery are testing the waters for a fresh collecting base in Silicon Valley. Whether the tech elite will finally take to art collecting en masse has yet to be seen. 

New York's Pace Gallery picked the former Tesla hedquarters on Menlo Park's El Camino Real, a major thoroughfare, to host their pop-up gallery. "Every art dealer in New York is trying to break into Silicon Valley," said Pace's Marc Glimcher to re-code.

Millions of dollars worth of Alexander Calder works at an opening night party last week drew in the likes of Microsoft's Paul Allen.  Alexander Calder: The Art of Invention, Pace Menlo Park’s inaugural exhibition, will continue through May 10, 2014, featuring monumental stabiles, bronzes, standing and hanging mobiles, colorful gouaches and wearable jewelry. 

“This is the wealthiest community in America, and they’re smart and creative. And they don’t yet collect art. They’re the only community in the world like that,” Glimcher said. He envisions the area's young techies becoming sophistcated collectors as found in nearby San Francisco, "erudite, decisive, fantastic collectors."

Glimcher will see how the pop-up gallery does before deciding on a permanent space in the area. (Six of the 10 most expensive U.S. residential communities are in Silicon Valley, which is home to Facebook, Apple, Google and a host of other tech giants.)

Earlier this month, the Silicon Valley Contemporary show debuted at the sleek San Jose Convention Center. Produced by Hamptons Expo Group, the show emphasized the intersection of art and technology. Most everything on view was made post-1960, with some exceptions such as ACA Gallery's well-curated booth centered by an Arthur B. Davies (1863-1928) Italian landscape.

Opening night, there were a few Google Glass wearers milling around. More importantly, there were a few brisk sales such as art glass, priced in the tens of thousands, from Schantz Gallery of Stockbridge, Mass. Blue-chip artists attracted interest at Mark Borghi, the dealer from New York, Bridgehampton and Palm Beach, who brought works by Haring, Basquiat, Calder, Richter, Bacon, Kusama, Brancusi, Hoffman, Warhol, and Wesselman.

Art Silicon Valley/Art San Francisco is a second major fair readying to test the region's taste for art. The inaugural show, a sister to Art Miami’s International Contemporary and Modern Art Fair, will take place at the San Mateo County Event Center during Columbus Day Weekend, October 9 through 12, 2014.  


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