If a collector wanted to buy a Frank Stella at Art Basel Miami Beach last December, he could have walked up to the booth of New York’s Marianne Boesky Gallery, which represents Frank Stella. Or, he could have walked up to the booth of London and New York gallery Dominique Lévy, which also represents Frank Stella. Or, he could have walked up to the booth of London, Berlin, and soon Los Angeles outfit Sprüth Magers, which—you guessed it—also represents Frank Stella.
Welcome to the age of artist free agency and gallery partnerships. Gone are the days when a single dealer nurtured the career of an artist in return for the exclusive right to sell her work. While it has long been regular practice for artists to have different dealers in various markets (one for Los Angeles, one for New York), high-profile artists are getting ever more promiscuous and working with more than one gallery in the same town.