Ahead of opening its new eight-story flagship space in New York, Pace Gallery has been rapidly expanding. Last week brought news that it is starting an art-and-technology initiative, PaceX, with art-world veteran Christy MacLear at the helm, and in recent months it has added Sam Gilliam, Jo Baer, and Lynda Benglis to its roster. It’s also hired Mark Beasley, of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., to oversee live programming.
Now Pace has made yet another high-profile addition: New York dealer Simon Preston, who will be a senior director. Preston, who shuttered his closely watched eponymous Chinatown gallery last year, will work out of Pace’s New York headquarters, and he will oversee its new initiatives and curatorial ventures.
“Primarily, my role is to develop new artist relationships—bring new artists to the program, to create more contemporary programming,” Preston told ARTnews in an interview. Of the curatorial initiatives, Preston added that Marc Glimcher, Pace’s president and CEO, is “trying to redefine what the art gallery’s role is in today’s world, and to move beyond only artist representation and have a more spontaneous connection with the broader public.”
Preston ran his gallery for 10 years, representing artists like Amie Siegel, Nick Goss, Josh Tonsfeldt, and Victoria Fu, among others. Earlier this year, ARTnews reported that Preston would act as a New York–based consultant for Thomas Dane Gallery, of London and Naples, Italy, for which he worked before running his own gallery. Preston was also previously a partner at the storied New York gallery the Project.
“From his time spent at the Project to running his own gallery, he has built steadfast relationships with both important collectors and many of the most important artists of our time,” Glimcher said in a statement. “Pace is thrilled to welcome him to the family.”
Asked about closing his New York gallery, Preston said that small and mid-size galleries are suffering amid declining foot traffic and rising operational costs. “I looked at what the next 10 years look like,” he said, “and this just seemed like a good opportunity.”