Blain|Southern, the gallery founded by Harry Blain and Graham Southern in 2010, will permanently close its three locations in Berlin, London, and New York. Blain announced the news in an email on Wednesday—more than three months after the dealers decided to part ways. The email stated that Blain was “unable to secure the gallery’s future long term.”
While the announcement didn’t provide any further information about the closure, Artnet News learned that the gallery experienced financial trouble. Four artists have confirmed that they are currently seeking the return of their artworks or overdue payments, and two sources said that Blain|Southern is asking its artists to pay for the transportation of their art from the gallery’s storage facilities.
When Southern retired last November, the gallery revealed that it would embark on a “period of restructuring.” The Art Newspaper reported several other changes at Blain|Southern that indicated struggle. Prior to Southern’s exit, the gallery’s director of exhibitions, Craig Burnett stepped down and the artists Jake and Dinos Chapman declared that they would no longer work with the gallery.
More departures followed in December. First, senior director Charles Saumarez Smith and artist Henning Strassburger left. A month later, the painter Rachel Howard ended her relationship with Blain|Southern, and yesterday, artist Mat Collishaw, who joined the gallery in 2007, posted on Instagram that he “parted company with Blain|Southern Gallery and will cease to be represented by them with immediate effect.”
In the email from the gallery, Blain said: “Ten years ago, together with Graham Southern I established Blain|Southern. Throughout our partnership, it was an honor to collaborate with so many talented artists and build an exhibition program that reflected and celebrated the breadth of contemporary art practice worldwide. Alongside the program, the gallery facilitated new commissions, public loans and museum exhibitions for our artists whilst supporting their broader activities.”
It continued: “Despite the support of dedicated gallery staff, I deeply regret that I have been unable to secure the gallery’s future long term. I want to thank all the artists, collectors, institutions, museums, staff and everyone who has worked with the gallery over the last decade.”
Blain and Southern opened their first gallery at 21 Dering Street in London, after they sold their art dealership Haunch of Venison to Christie’s in 2007. Two years later, it moved to 4 Hanover Square. The gallery also expanded to the former print room of Der Tagesspiegel in Berlin’s Potsdamer Straße in 2011, and in 2019 opened an outpost in Cheim & Read’s former space in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York.