Museums have long taken up residence off the beaten track. Isolated and surrounded by nature, some of the more cutting-edge institutions have sought to turn the whole experience – the journey, the slowed-down focus of a captive audience, the surroundings themselves – into part of the experience. But for a commercial gallery, taking up a rural patch might have been considered a more audacious bet – until recently, that is.
People have rediscovered the countryside this year and footfall also seems less fundamental as some potential collectors are deciding to weather the pandemic outside of city centres. This week, London-based gallery Cadogan Contemporary announced that it will open a new space (pictured) in Hampshire, southeast of the capital, in April next year.
It’s not the first gallery to make the jump to the greener pastures: global gallery behemoth Hauser & Wirth, for example, opened an outpost in Somerset in 2014. Cadogan’s decision doesn’t seem quite as experimental: the new venue will provide more room at a significantly lower cost than its home in South Kensington. The hope is that this new space will not only attract a local buyer base but also entice collectors from further afield to seek a glimpse of the English pastoral idyll. Provincial art, it seems, isn’t such a pejorative term after all.