Photo by Janina Gallert
Whatever happened to the Haunch of Venison? Quartered in the post-industrial wastelands in the vicinity of Hamburger Bahnhof, it was the docking station for London-school major-league commercial artists… until it closed with the Yoko Ono show last month.
Haunch‘s London Director, Matt Carey, explained to the London-based Art Newspaper that the gallery wanted to focus on New York and London: Berlin didn‘t have the collector community to support the gallery. Is this the end of an era?
Nothing in the art world is as it seems. Founded in London in 2002 by Harry Blain and Graham Southern, HoV transgressed the unwritten commandment of Artland: the secondary market shall not trespass upon the primary market. Auction houses shall not step on gallerists’ toes.
Blain and Southern sold Haunch to Christie‘s International in 2007, the same year it struck ground in Berlin. A boundary was crossed and Haunch was banished from Artland‘s most fecund sales grounds – the Art Basel and Frieze Art Fairs.
Blain and Southern attempted to buy back the gallery – and credibility with the art world. Christies refused, and Blain and Southern left to go it alone. The Berlin Chapter of the Haunch of Venison closed. But not before it brought a clutch of new galleries with it, building what looked like a new commercial art district around the Hamburger Bahnhof. Many of those galleries have since left.
Still, the story continues. Blain and Southern took a number of Haunch staff and artists with them to found a new gallery in London. Next they take Manhattan. Berlin is slated to follow.