The layoff due to Covid-19 continued last week as both Pace Gallery and Gavin Brown laid off its staff.
The coronavirus pandemic has proven to be harsh for all professions, especially for the art world. On Thursday last week, Pace Gallery asked many of its employees to not return to work. This move came after the gallery had already furloughed a quarter of its New York staff in early April. The announcement would affect around 20 employees.
Among those laid off is Simon Preston, one of the prominent gallerists in the city. Preston had joined Pace only last year after closing his own New York-based gallery after almost a decade. On the other hand, gallerist Gavin Brown too closed his gallery last week, without disclosing much detail. He did announce that he would be joining another gallerist, Barbara Gladstone. Earlier this month, David Zwirner Gallery fired almost 40 employees. Sources reported that the move came after a significant 30 percent drop in the sales for the gallery.
It has been a bloodbath in art galleries ever since the pandemic started. As early as March, when exhibitions were only beginning to get canceled, many galleries were already sending staff on temporary or permanent leave. In April, Royal Ontario Museum announced that it is cutting down its staff by half, while The Met lay off dozens of employees. In the beginning of May, the American Museum of Natural History fired 200 employees and sent another 250 on furlough.
There are some reports that suggest the number of employees actually furloughed by Pace could be double to what the gallery reported. Pace refused to comment much on the issue, except assuring that the remaining furloughed staff would eventually return to work.