William Kentridge Joins Hauser & Wirth, Departing Longtime Dealer Marian Goodman

William Kentridge, one of South Africa’s most celebrated artists, has signed with mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth, which has 19 locations around the world. Kentridge’s first exhibition with Hauser & Wirth is planned for next year in one of the gallery’s New York spaces.

As part of his new representation, the Johannesburg-based artist will continue to show with Goodman Gallery in South Africa and the UK, and with Galleria Lia Rumma in Naples, Italy, but he will no longer show with Marian Goodman Gallery, his dealer for over two decades.

Related Articles

MARIUPOL, UKRAINE - 2022/04/16: Residential buildings are damaged by fire and hollowed out by airstrikes in Mariupol. The battle between Russian / Pro Russian forces and the defending Ukrainian forces lead by the Azov battalion continues in the port city of Mariupol. (Photo by Maximilian Clarke/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Putin Announces Mariupol “Liberation” Museum, William Kentridge Drops Marian Goodman Gallery for Hauser & Wirth, New Basquiat Movie in the Works, and More: Morning Links for March 7, 2024

Hauser & Wirth’s New Gallery in Hong Kong Proves the Art Capital Isn’t Going Anywhere

Kentridge is known for a prolific and wide-ranging practice anchored in prints, drawings, and animated films that often reference the history of South Africa. The move to Hauser & Wirth is not wholly unexpected; in December 2022, Kentridge mounted an exhibition with the gallery for which two large-scale sculptures were installed in the gardens of the Gstaad Palace, in Gstaad, Switzerland.

“Marian Goodman has been steadfast in supporting my work for the 25 years I have been with her gallery,” Kentridge told ARTnews in an email. “She and her team have been vital to my practice and have forged connections between me and a range of institutions, curators and collectors. I cannot thank the gallery enough for their support. After much careful consideration I am excited to begin the next chapter, working with my existing galleries Goodman Gallery and Galleria Lia Rumma in collaboration with Hauser & Wirth. I very much look forward to working with [Hauser & Wirth co-presidents Iwan [Wirth], Manuela [Wirth], Marc [Payot] and the team.”

Kentridge’s practice extends far beyond object-making. Over the past decade, he has expanded his studio in Johannesburg into a space for workshops and mentorships, becoming one of the largest local cultural employers.

While he has created theatrical performances beginning in the 1990s and has worked on operas since the early 2000s, he has recently ramped up his work on large projects. Recent theatrical productions that have appeared in theaters and festivals around the world include Waiting for the Sibyl (2019), The Head & the Load (2018), and Ursonate (2017). In 2022, his film, Oh To Believe in Another World, made to accompany a performance of Shostakovich’s 10th Symphony, premiered at the KKL Luzern Concert hHall and has since been performed in multiple venues worldwide.  

Five sculptures that appear to be maquettes for costumes, made from various metal instruments like a compass and pliers.
William Kentridge, Quintet for Oh to Believe in Another World, 2023. Photo Thys Dullaart Photography/©William Kentridge, All Rights Reserved, DACS 2024/Courtesy the artist, Goodman Gallery and Hauser & Wirth

Emily Jane Kirwan, a partner at Marian Goodman gallery, attributes Kentridge’s change of representation to this shift. “I would say it is a transitional time for William,” she told ARTnews in a phone interview. “We have supported all his critical initiatives, including recent exhibitions at the Broad, the Royal Academy, and a major exhibition upcoming at an East Coast institution. His practice has become focused on extremely large theatrical performances, stage productions, and, more recently, films that have appeared in film festivals and have different distributions.”

Marian Goodman Gallery is itself currently in a transitional period. In 2021, Goodman, who is in her mid-90s and was at that time stepping away from day-to-day operations, revealed a succession plan for her gallery that involved appointing four partners. Kentridge told ARTnews last fall that over the period he was represented by the gallery, “my conversations were almost entirely with Marian.”

During his years with Marian Goodman, Kentridge has formed a reputation as a museum artist rather than a market artist. His current auction record stands at $1.5 million for a bronze piece sold at Sotheby’s in 2013, modest for such an accomplished talent of his generation, but since the ’90s he has had solo exhibitions at just about every important art museum in the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Louvre.

A drawing in mostly black with various figures on a boat over a collage of various torn maps with red lines.
William Kentridge, Carte Hypsométrique de l’Empire Russe, 2022. ©William Kentridge, All Rights Reserved, DACS 2024/Courtesy the artist, Goodman Gallery and Hauser & Wirth

Established in the early 1990s in Switzerland by Iwan and Manuela Wirth and Ursula Hauser, Hauser & Wirth has expanded substantially over the past 15 years and currently operates spaces in New York, London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Somerset, and the island of Menorca. The gallery has added numerous artists to its program over the past decade, including superstars like Cindy Sherman, Pat Steir, and Firelei Báez; its roster now numbers 103 artists and estates.

In a statement, Iwan Wirth, who also serves as the gallery’s co-president, said, “It is a true honor that William Kentridge has decided to join our gallery. William’s virtuosity as an artist, thinker, polymath and mentor of others sets him apart as a creative luminary of our time. Through the diversity, courage and sheer power of his work, he interweaves themes that are both universal and personal to lead us through the mazes of politics, mythology, literature and art history. In this way, William has created something simultaneously epic and ephemeral with his art, always finding new approaches to expressing the most challenging ideas.”

Wirth’s statement continued, “We are also profoundly inspired by the spirit of collaboration so deeply embedded within his process: in founding the Centre for the Less Good Idea in Johannesburg, he has created a wonderful home for collective experimentation and cross-disciplinary practice and set an example for communality. We look forward to working in close collaboration with Goodman Gallery—a ‘home’ gallery to William for 30 years— and Galleria Lia Rumma and to furthering the mission to expand global awareness of, engagement in and appreciation for Kentridge’s art and values.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *