At a time when many art galleries are struggling to keep their doors open in the face of a constantly changing market, Lehmann Maupin is cementing its ambitious ascent to the top of the art world with a new Chelsea flagship, a recently opened Seoul gallery, and a thriving home in Hong Kong.
Founded in 1996 by Rachel Lehmann and David Maupin, the gallery has come a long way from its humble SoHo beginnings. It now boasts four locations worldwide and more in the works, including a London viewing gallery set to open by 2020. But Lehmann Maupin, whose artists include Marilyn Minter, Juergen Teller, Liu Wei, and Liza Lou, has remained steadfastly focused on discovering, showcasing and supporting underrepresented artists from all over the world.
“Lehmann Maupin has always been very diverse in its roster of artists,” says sales partner Jessica Kreps, who’s been with the gallery since 2009. “And gender and racial equity remain integral to us.”
She is also quick to point out that Lehmann Maupin also boasts unexpected age diversity among its artists. Cecilia Vicuña, a 70-year old Chilean artist who was relatively unknown just a few years ago, and 72-year old McArthur Binion, a Chicago-based, African-American artist who’s seen a “meteoric rise,” are both recent additions to the gallery. “Our job is to bring to light artists who haven’t had that platform,” Kreps adds.
Indeed, Lehmann Maupin has garnered a reputation among artists, gallerists and patrons alike for its unique lineup of artists, a quality that has even led to the openings of its Hong Kong and Seoul galleries over the last five years. After seeing continued success with Asian artists and collectors, the gallery realized the need to establish a physical presence in the Far East and opened its Hong Kong location in 2013.
“Hong Kong really has a booming economy and a well-established art world, and it seemed like the perfect gateway to China and Southeast Asia,” says Kreps.
Lehmann Maupin opened a second location in the region over the last year. With several prominent Korean artists on its roster, including Lee Bul, Do Ho Suh, and Suh Se Ok, and the growing base of collectors there, Seoul seemed like the perfect city for the gallery.
“The Korean public is among the most educated about the art world, Kreps says. “It’s definitely been the right step for us in expansion.”