Acknowledging the art market’s dim forecast, Pace Gallery informed nearly two dozen of its furloughed employees on Thursday that they would not be returning to work. The layoffs come after a quarter of the gallery’s New York workforce was furloughed in early April.
“The economic situation caused by the global pandemic means we cannot sustain our previous level of staffing,” said Pace spokeswoman Amelia Redgrift. “This decision was taken after every other measure to ensure we are prepared for an extended period of financial uncertainty and to protect as many jobs as possible in the long-term.”
The news comes after a string of downsizing moves for the gallery industry, including earlier this month when David Zwirner Gallery laid off nearly 40 employees while predicting a 30 percent drop in sales. Earlier this week, another shakeup occurred when the gallerist Gavin Brown announced that he was closing up shop and joining the blue-chip gallerist Barbara Gladstone.
Among those departing Pace is Simon Preston, who joined the gallery less than a year ago as a senior director after closing his own nearly-decade-old New York gallery. The full scope of Pace’s initial furloughs has also come into clearer view. While the gallery said in April that nearly 25 employees were furloughed, according to an internal list reviewed by two former employees, that number was closer to 50. Some executives at the gallery, including its head of information technology and the global head of human resources, voluntarily resigned during the furlough.
Pace declined to comment when questioned about the earlier inaccuracy, but said that remaining furloughed staff would be returning to work. Through a gallery spokeswoman, CEO Marc Glimcher declined to comment about that or the layoffs.