The Pace Gallery announced yesterday that it is expanding into the empty lot at 508 West 25th Street, a space adjacent to its current space at 510 West 25th Street and directly underneath the High Line. Before construction begins, Pace will host a public art installation by artist and musician David Byrne, who plans to fill the lot with a giant inflatable globe. Could this gesture stand as a symbol for the gallery's world-conquering ambitions?
According to a Pace spokesperson, the gallery discovered the potential of the location during last year's 50th anniversary celebrations, when it used the shady space beneath the High Line for a blowout party. This summer, Pace purchased the lot and hired architect Bill Katz to design a new exhibition space below the former train tracks. The planned gallery will be separate from the current venue next door, though it may occasionally share exhibitions.
Katz is a natural fit for the gallery — the architect's first studio commission was for Pace artist Agnes Martin's New Mexico cabin in 1974. (The gallery, meanwhile, has a show of Martin's work that will open on 25th Street on September 15, the same night as the Byrne installation.) Katz also designed the current Pace site at 510 West 25th Street, though he did so some time before it was taken over by the gallery. Pace's rep would not comment on a projected timeline for the new project, since construction has yet to begin.
Before the construction crews move in, though, David Byrne will take over the lot with a huge installation of a globe, titled "Tight Spot." When confined by the space between the onetime elevated train track, the ground, and various pillars, the inflatable globe will measure 48 by 20 feet. The installation will also feature a sound component, a "low-frequency vibration" that is in fact a digitally distorted version of the artist's own voice. The installation will run from September 16 to October 1, concurrent to the first half of Pace's upcoming "Social Media" show at the 510 West 25th Street location, in which the rocker-turned-artist will also have work.