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Trading Spaces

Emmanuel Perrotin knows what it means to sacrifice on the altar of art ... A tribute exhibition for Keith Haring's sculptures ... The party scene thaws.

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Yet Perrotin, who is friendly with fashion types from Hedi Slimane to Vanessa Bruno, isn’t abandoning his bohemian ways. He’s installed a Foosball table “for chilling out” in the gallery’s soundproof basement and has a high-tech central sound system with enough power to blow the top off Mount Everest. 

He’s also tackling America. In December Perrotin will inaugurate a sprawling 16,000-square-foot gallery in Miami designed by hip young architect Chad Oppenheim. Apart from its soaring exhibit rooms and a door “big enough to drive an 18-wheeler through,” it will have several apartments for artists, as well as a pool.

“If I don’t do it now, at my age, I’ll never do it,” says Perrotin of his moves. “It’s important to be in the American market. And Miami’s got such energy right now. There’s not an international gallery. I can create a situation.”

That’s not to underestimate the importance of the Paris market, he says, questioning the notion that New York is the only important center for contemporary art.

“People seem to forget that we have François Pinault and Bernard Arnault [in France]. There are a lot of French collectors, but they are very discreet. Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of [international] galleries open in Paris soon.”

Perrotin’s twin spaces are sure to propel him to a heightened plane of influence. Yet he insists he’s still happiest just by getting a frisson from seeing good work. “It’s just the way I am,” he says. “I’m so optimistic and positive.”
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