Painter Joe Bradley Departs Gagosian, Joins Petzel Gallery and Xavier Hufkens

Sarah Douglas
BY SARAH DOUGLAS March 29, 2021 12:00pm
Painter Joe Bradley Departs Gagosian, Joins
Joe Bradley, Datura, 2020.COURTESY PETZEL

Mid-career artist Joe Bradley, known for his improvisational mixed media paintings that reference things like children’s drawings and comic books, has left Gagosian gallery after five years of representation to show with Petzel gallery in New York.

“The gallery is super dynamic and has an unusual, thoughtful program,” Bradley said of Petzel from France, where he has been living and working with an artist visa since last fall. “I’ve seen a lot of great shows there. It’s an exciting venue with a painting program that is exciting and lively.” Petzel shows numerous celebrated painters, among them Charline von Heyl, Derek Fordjour, and Sarah Morris. “The program also feels very diverse. I can fit in there without being too close stylistically, or in spirit, to any of the other painters in the stable.”

“I have admired Joe’s work for many years,” gallery founder Friedrich Petzel said in a statement. “His freedom in exploring different painting techniques reminds me of artists like Asger Jorn and Charline von Heyl. I am thrilled that Joe will join the gallery and am excited to introduce him and his work to the Petzel audience.”

In addition to signing with Petzel in New York, Bradley has signed with Xavier Hufkens in Brussels, and will continue to show with his longtime Zurich rep, Galerie Eva Presenhuber. (Petzel has two locations in New York and Capitain Petzel, a collaboration with dealer Gisela Capitain, in Berlin.) Gagosian Gallery did not return a request for comment.

“I have been a longtime admirer of Joe’s work,” said Hufkens in a statement. “His controlled wit challenges how we think about painting. It encourages a careful, attentive gaze, which today feels more relevant than ever. We are truly excited that Joe has joined the gallery.”

Bradley has changed galleries several times. After early-career exhibitions with Kenny Schachter’s Rove gallery in New York in the early 2000s after he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, Bradley’s first gallery representation was with New York’s Canada gallery, which showed him from 2006 until 2011, when he joined the stable of the now-defunct Gavin Brown’s Enterprise. In 2015, he joined Gagosian. (At the time, Bradley said he would maintain a relationship with Canada gallery, though he will no longer show there, according to Petzel.) Between 2016 and 2018, Gagosian mounted solo exhibitions of Bradley’s work in its spaces in New York, Los Angeles, Geneva, and London. Gagosian was one of the sponsors of Bradley’s 2017 mid-career museum retrospective at the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York.

On the market, Bradley’s work breached the $1 million mark  in 2014, when one of his abstract paintings on drop cloth sold for over $1.5 million at Christie’s London. In November 2015, just days after the announcement that he’d joined Gagosian—and six months after his appearance in “The Forever Now,” an influential group show of paintings at the Museum of Modern Art—an abstract painting by Bradley sold for $3 million at Christie’s in New York. His prices have since plateaued; the highest price achieved at auction since 2018 was $680,000 for an abstract painting at Sotheby’s New York in November 2019.

It is unusual for an artist to leave one of the world’s handful of large galleries with locations around the world, though in the ’00s there were several examples of such changes: Sue Williams went back to 303 Gallery, which had nurtured her career from the beginning, after doing one show with David Zwirner, and both Ghada Amer and Tom Friedman left Gagosian after several years of representation. More recently, painter Cecily Brown left Gagosian, and now shows with Paula Cooper.

Bradley’s first appearance at Petzel will be in a group show this summer. In September, he will be in a two-artist exhibition with Tobias Pils at Capitain Petzel. His first solo outing with Petzel is scheduled for Spring 2022.

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