Eying Expansion in South Korea, Gagosian Hires Seoul-Based Head of Operations

Gagosian has appointed Jiyoung Lee to head operations in South Korea, strengthening the gallery’s influence in the Asian market.

Lee is well-positioned to run Gagosian’s Korean front. For the last 15 years, she worked in Seoul for both Western and South Korean galleries, including Sprüth Magers, Esther Schipper, and PKM Gallery. She will begin immediately in her new post at Gagosian.

She also has institutional ties, having organized exhibitions for both Barbara Kruger and Andreas Gursky at the Amorepacific Museum of Art in Seoul.

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“We have been able to service Korean institutions and collectors from our base in Hong Kong for a long time, but we feel that the time is right to have somebody who is from Korea, speaks Korean, and is deeply embedded in the community there to further develop our activities in the region,” Nick Simunovic, the Hong Kong–based senior director of Gagosian in Asia, told ARTnews.

Heavy hitting galleries such as White Cube, Peres Projects, Pace, Thaddaeus Ropac, and Lehmann Maupin have opened galleries in the Korean capital, but Gagosian has yet to do the same. While Simunovic did not say the gallery has plans to open an exhibition space in Korea, he did say “all options were on the table.”

“We have always been very deliberate about our plans when it comes to expansion,” Simunovic said, noting that the search for someone to head operations in Korea was a long one. “We wanted to find the right person with whom we could launch a broader offering in Korea in both the primary and secondary market.”

Gagosian has had a presence in Asia for over a decade, having opened its first space in Hong Kong in 2011. Western artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Bonnet, Tetsuya Ishida, and Donald Judd have had shows at Gagosian’s spaces on the continent.

Meanwhile, this season in New York, Gagosian is mounting a solo show for Ishida in New York. Curated by Cecilia Alemani, who organized last year’s Venice Biennale, the exhibition is the Japanese artist’s “most comprehensive presentation staged outside of Japan,” according to the gallery.

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