The new gallery consists of a 7000sq ft museum-style exhibition space over two levels and 12 rooms, and includes Asian, African, pre-Columbian and classical art. Other Barakat galleries are in London, Abu Dhabi and Beverly Hills.
Paul Henderson, gallery director at the new location, talked to ATG about what it takes to open a new antiquities gallery in 2017.
How have you chosen your new location?
The La Cienega Design Quarter, which we are now proud inhabitants of, is one of the world’s most sought-after destinations for all things high-end and creative. From design to antiques, furnishings to house wares and art galleries, it’s an exciting and eclectic place.
What are the challenges of launching a new gallery there?
Being one of the last major galleries on the west coast to deal in ancient art has its advantages and disadvantages. It means we stand out as one of the only outlets to acquire museum-quality ancient art. On the other hand, without a large, active collecting community we have to do a lot of outreach.
What is the antiquities market like on the west coast and what are your predictions for it?
Right now it’s small and extremely niche. Over the past two decades the antiquities collecting market in LA particularly has dwindled. Still, there does seem to be a burgeoning interest in antiquities on the world stage. We do a large amount of our business online and in our overseas galleries to clients in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. We hope that with this new large-scale showroom space we can start bringing that same level of enthusiasm back to LA.
How can a gallery lead to a wider collector base?
Having a well-appointed bricks-and-mortar location is paramount because we want that community of collectors, enthusiasts and even appreciators to grow. People need to be able to experience these items first hand to be able to really build an appreciation of them. A big part of what we do in the gallery is help to develop an understanding and respect for the past and the cultures that created these magnificent treasures. It’s a first step in the collecting adventure.
How do you pitch antiquities to a contemporary audience?
Artefacts and abstract paintings make a stunning, impactful combination and frankly create a wonderful sense of dynamism in almost any space. I believe you can find ancient art that will compliment any space no matter how modern… it’s just a matter of finding the right pieces.