Alberto Mugrabi: The Gagosian-Hirst Split Is Like a Divorce, but in a Good Way

Mugrabi. (Courtesy Patrick McMullan)

Mugrabi. (Courtesy Patrick McMullan)

The art world has done some soul-searching following news that Damien Hirst will leave his longtime gallery, Gagosian. But the collector and dealer Alberto Mugrabi, whose family reportedly owns several hundred works by Mr. Hirst, isn’t worried.

“All these big artists today, they don’t have to stay in one place,” he told Gallerist. “They can go and be on their own.  They don’t need one gallery, they can have many galleries today. It’s more where the art market is moving, in my opinion.”

This isn’t to say that the news didn’t surprise him, though there have been reports that Mr. Hirst’s market has flattened in recent years, meaning that the potential for the artist to work with a new set of galleries may be beneficial for him.

“A guy like Damien Hirst can go to any gallery he wants and give them one show, and then go somewhere else and give them one show, and then go somewhere else and give them one show,” he said. “And then, if he wants to give someone two shows, he can do that, if he wants to give someone eight shows, if he wants to do that, there’s no need to be with one gallery. And I promise you one thing: Larry will show Damien Hirst again. Many times, in the future.”

“It’s like a marriage,” he added. “Sometimes a marriage goes through a crisis and then there’s a divorce and they’re still friends and sometimes they get back together and sometimes they go somewhere else. This is just like normal life.”

At any rate, Mr. Mugrabi told Bloomberg recently that he will continue to support Mr. Hirst’s market. “I’m not worried for Larry,” he said, “and I’m not worried for Damien.”