Gavin Brown’s enterprise has made a definitive mark in the world of art. Its founder, Gavin Brown, is both an artist and an art dealer, which gives his gallery a particularly fluid and imaginative nature. The gallery quickly consolidated its position as one of New York’s, and the world’s, foremost representatives of the finest artists of our time. Never wavering from its commitment to the community of artists it belongs to and fosters, the gallery has developed a unique and radical reputation for expanding notions of what art, and art galleries, can be and do today. 

Gavin Brown’s enterprise (GBE) opened in New York in 1994, representing its first wave of artists that included Rirkrit Tiravanija, Peter Doig, Elizabeth Peyton, Udomsak Krisanamis, Steven Pippin, Franz Ackermann and Verne Dawson. The gallery has gone on to represent artists such as Martin Creed, Urs Fischer, Mark Leckey, Rob Pruitt, Jonathan Horowitz, Laura Owens, Alex Katz, Sturtevant, Ed Atkins, Rachel Rose, Jannis Kounellis, Joan Jonas and Arthur Jafa, among many others. The gallery has changed locations over the years as Brown’s vision adapted to pursue his ever-changing ideas toward presenting art.

Rob Pruitt, Hungry (2013)
Glitter and enamel on canvas
An Impressive Career

Gavin Brown, who hails from the UK, came to the United States to fulfill his artistic ambitions. Since then, he has become an international name in art. He started his career by organizing exhibitions in New York City in the early 1990s. Since that time, he has proceeded to run galleries internationally, namely in Italy. In 2014, he was listed among The Guardian’s “Movers and makers: the most powerful people in the art world” for his many professional accomplishments. 

The passion he has for art and the pursuance of its meaning overflow into the concept of his galleries and personal work. This resulted in an unwavering reputation as one of the most influential figures in the industry. His dynamic vision and pursuit of talent have given many artists wings. 

Attending a Gavin Brown Enterprise exhibit takes you into a new world where your ideas and thoughts are challenged and stretched. What is art? How should a gallery’s space function? And what will art mean to future generations? These are just a few of the questions that Brown pursues the answers to in his fluid and exciting career. 

Spencer Sweeney, Dupply Self Conqueror (2016)
Oil on linen
Gavin Brown’s Vision

Gavin’s position as artist and owner places him in a role that both creates and actuates. Everything from his selection of artists for his exhibits to the location and buildings he uses to house the work runs through meticulous, contemplative scrutiny.

ARTnews recently shared a transcript from Brown after asking him about his thoughts about the role that art galleries have today and what his gallery is for. This was his response:

“The word ‘gallery’ is no longer elastic enough to describe all the versions and species that we currently regard as galleries. There are vastly different models, vastly different scales of economy, different ideologies which all produce different ideas of what art even is. What art is for. What galleries are for. But my instinct is that the entire endeavor—across the board—and however it manifests itself is more vital and needed than ever.”

The elastic nature he allows for his galleries for exhibits generates memorable results. He gives full trust to his artists to alter his gallery space to fully express their boundary-pushing visions, which has led to some of the most innovative and creative exhibits in art history.

Rirkrit Tiravanija, untitled 2015 (sognamo sotto lo stesso cielo?) (2015)
Acrylic and newspaper on linen
Open Minds; Endless Possibilities

This open-minded view of art and how it is displayed has stamped Brown as one of the leading figures of artistic expression. Over the years, he has formed relationships with countless talented artists who have filled his gallery with evocative, stunning work. The unofficial beginnings of Gavin Brown’s enterprise started with the exhibition of Elizabeth Peyton’s artwork in a hotel room in 1993. Her small-scale portraits gained worldwide acclaim after her second solo exhibit in 1995 at Gavin Brown’s gallery. 

Since the early exhibits, Brown has been known for transforming the gallery space into new worlds where visitors are catapulted into a novel experience. Exhibits that push the boundaries of human expression and emotion are also part of the Gavin Brown signature. For example, the eight-foot deep crater in the gallery floor in Swiss artist Urs Fischer’s 2007 show “You” had viewers step right into the middle of an overwhelming chasm dug within the gallery. The environment provoked different moods personal to the viewer, such as transitions, disruption, loss, sabotage, confusion and rebirth.

Rob Pruitt, Mejor Amigos
Acrylic, enamel and glitter on linen
Drawing Us Near to the Unconventional

Though the gallery changed locations from SoHo in Manhattan to ultimately Harlem where it currently resides, Gavin has used each space for its unique potential. Artists use the space itself to host their works in meaningful and provocative ways that emit a mood that encapsulates the viewer into the artist’s vision.

The 2005 “Drunk vs. Stoned” exhibit showed people in different states of intoxication — and is a prime example of the unconventional and highly thought-provoking images the gallery pursues. The show explored how people looked and felt when they entered diverse states of minds under the influence of mind-altering substances. This concept was novel at the time of the exhibit and deeply investigated taboo, mind-expanding territories.

Rirkrit Tiravanija, untitled 2008 (fifty dollar the days of this society is numbered) (2008)
MDF frame, $50 bill, oil paint, gray ink stamp
Edition 5 of 5 + 1 AP/Prototypes
Artwork Selections

Gavin Brown’s enterprise has showcased many prominent artists since its inaugural show in the early 1990s. Some early shows included Catherine Opie photographs, Peter Doig, Andy Warhol, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. 

Among Gavin Brown’s art selections, you will find bold paintings integrated with different mediums from artists like Rob Pruitt and Alex Katz. As they become available, you can purchase them for your personal enjoyment. This is your chance to create a stunning impact in your interior with originals from the world’s best artists.

Rob Pruitt, Lady With An Ermine Out Of Frame (2020)
Acrylic, enamel paint and flocking on linen

Browse the entirety of the Gavin Brown’s enterprise collection, plus the rest of the Sotheby’s Gallery Network, on Sotheby’s Home.


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