The Guggenheim’s Favorite Art Dealer


Nearly half of the recent solo shows at New York’s Guggenheim Museum have been devoted to artists represented by dealer Marian Goodman. Of 15 solo shows at the museum since fall 2010, seven have been given to artists in the stable of Goodman Gallery, which has venues in New York and Paris.

Those artists are Maurizio Cattelan, Rineke Dijkstra, Julie Mehretu, Gabriel Orozco, Tino Sehgal, Danh Vo and Francesca Woodman.

Bruce Altshuler, director of New York University’s museum studies program, told A.i.A. that such an extensive overlap does raise questions.

“What’s at issue here is the appearance of impropriety, though in this case I don’t think there is any,” he said in a phone interview. “Appearance is important in terms of the public perception of the Guggenheim Museum and the degree of trust the public places in the institution. People look to museums as authoritative voices. If they are to maintain that status, they have to be concerned with appearances of favoritism.”

Moreover, of the nine artists who have been awarded the Guggenheim Museum’s Hugo Boss Prize since its inception in 1996, three—Pierre Huyghe, Tacita Dean and Danh Vo—are on Goodman’s roster. Danh Vo, who received the prize in November 2012, had his first show with Goodman this month. Huyghe and Dean were already represented by Goodman when they won the prize.

“It is purely coincidental that many of the artists shown at the Guggenheim or who have been selected for the Hugo Boss Prize are represented by the gallery,” Nancy Spector, the museum’s deputy director and chief curator, told A.i.A. in an e-mail via the museum’s PR department. Spector has overseen the last several Hugo Boss Prize juries.

Betsy Ennis, director of media and public relations for the museum, elaborated: “Marian Goodman has one of the best galleries in the world. Please note we have upcoming shows of James Turrell, Christopher Wool and Fischli & Weiss, all of whom show with different galleries.”

A press representative for the Goodman gallery declined to comment.

Goodman’s artists are critically acclaimed and routinely appear in international exhibitions.

Artists represented by Goodman’s gallery, as reported in A.i.A., were big winners at Documenta 13 this summer in Kassel, with no fewer than 10 of her artists included there. Three of Goodman’s artists—Tacita Dean, Steve McQueen and Tino Seghal—will be in the upcoming Venice Biennale.

“There are galleries that do have a curatorial point of view and a philosophy,” Bonnie Clearwater, director and chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, told A.i.A. in a phone interview. “Marian Goodman, along with galleries like Paula Cooper, Metro Pictures, Luhring Augustine and 303, to name a few, do have a particular sensibility.”

Clearwater also pointed out shared interests between Goodman and Spector.

“Marian represents artists working in relational esthetics, such as Maurizio Cattelan, Tino Sehgal, Anri Sala and Pierre Huyghe, and that’s an interest Nancy has long had,” she said. “And it’s closely related to a philosophical and critical approach to contemporary art.”