Galleries and other commercial art sites have begun reopening in New York, but some are still choosing to expand outside the city limits to reach customers who have declined due to the coronavirus pandemic. Phillips, one of the world's largest auction houses, opens a new location in Southampton, NY, on Friday.
Seeing how the pandemic has "affected our operations and our customers has really made us think about how we can adapt our business," said Edward Dolman, CEO of Phillips, in an interview.
"It made sense to take art that we traditionally only had to show to Manhattan where many of our clients decided that they would spend much more of their time, ”he added.
Phillips Square, in the former Southampton Town Hall on Main Street, will open with an exhibition showing the 20th century and the sale of contemporary art scheduled for 11-12. November. Among the highlights is Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “Portrait of A-One A.K.A. King, ”a painting by the neo-expressionist artist that is estimated to sell for $ 10 to $ 15 million.
When coronavirus arrived in the art capitals of the world, auction houses switched to livestream sales and other forms of online engagement. But for now, says Dolman, there is no substitute for seeing art in person, especially for potential buyers who are considering investing large sums of money.
“We are very happy with how the market is transformed by our customers. "willingness to tackle us digitally and virtually," he said. "But I do not think anyone will claim in a minute that the experience of standing in front of a work of art is extremely different from anything you can experience through a digital screen remotely."