Prats Nogueras Blanchard is born. A new gallery with decades of experience, led by four gallery owners with an important career: Álex Nogueras, Rebeca Blanchard and the De Muga sisters, Patricia and Marta. It will be based in Barcelona and Madrid.
The Joan Prats and NoguerasBlanchardgalleries are merging, which is an unusual decision in the art market. Their objectives are to be stronger, more efficient, and more relevant. They also aim to work with more artists, support their careers from different perspectives, participate in art fairs with a strong curatorial vision, and advise collectors when introducing important pieces into their collections. The founders of this project are four gallery owners with extensive knowledge of the art market and different areas of expertise. They will collaborate under a new name: Prats Nogueras Blanchard.
The new gallery will have two exhibition spaces, one in Barcelona, which will have a new location on Méndez Núñez Street, and another one in Madrid, the current headquarters of Nogueras-Blanchard on Beneficencia Street. In addition to these two spaces, there is a third in the Barcelona neighbourhood of Poblenou. An industrial space will serve as both a warehouse and a permanent showroom and occasionally as an exhibition space.
Marta and Patricia de Muga – second generation at the helm of Joan Prats – and the founders of NoguerasBlanchard – Alex Nogueras and Rebeca Blanchard – are not unfamiliar. “We have been collaborating since 2013,” Blanchard anticipates.
“When we started working with the artist Perejaume, his first exhibition in Madrid was our first cooperation with the Joan Prats gallery”, she says. “A few years later, in 2021, we launched a temporary exhibition project during the summer in Ampurdán, together with a third gallery. Its purpose was to activate new contexts and get closer to new audiences”, she adds.
“Our work has not changed. It consists, fundamentally, of accompanying the trajectory of the represented artists or their legacies, introducing them to new markets and supporting them in their careers. What has changed has been the scenario,” says Patricia de Muga. “We compete with mega galleries that may have headquarters in different countries and unlimited resources; as well as with auction rooms, which have left their traditional role in the secondary market to take on many gallery functions. We need to be present in international fairs while having a strong presence in social media.
The art market is now global. If we want creativity to compete abroad (meaning, the talent of both the national and international artists we represent), we need galleries with greater muscle”, says Marta de Muga. “We seek to forge a transformative synergy that contributes significantly to the Spanish and international art scene,” she says.
Prats Nogueras Blanchard will have its debut at ARCOmadrid from March 6 to 10. The ephemeral walls of the fair stand will be a first manifesto of its intentions, showing work by Luis Gordillo, Victoria Civera, Wilfredo Prieto and Mercedes Azpilicueta, among others. The first exhibition at its Barcelona headquarters in Barcelona will be in April, with a monographic exhibition by Muntadas. “The new Prats Nogueras Blanchard gallery is an alliance that embodies a collective commitment to advance the discourse of contemporary art, embracing our past and facing the challenges of the future,” says Alex Nogueras.
On the border between l’Eixample and Ciutat Vella, on Méndez Núñez street, a 400-square-meter space will serve as headquarters for Prats Nogueras Blanchard in Barcelona. An old photography school that has been rehabilitated by architect Marc Rabassa, from RAL studio. It is an open space, with high ceilings, located on the ground floor of a building that is part of the Barcelona heritage catalogue. “From the beginning, this project has been connected with an intervention closely linked to the city, the character of the place and its historical and contemporary vocation,” explains Patricia de Muga.
In Madrid, Prats Nogueras Blanchard will operate from a second floor space on Calle Beneficencia 18B. A historical building belonging to an adjacent Anglican cathedral. Renovated by interior designer Jean Porsche, its large floor is divided by a staircase: on one side, a bright 200-square-meter loft that houses the exhibitions while, opposite, two offices with views of the street serve as a reception area and permanent showroom.
A third space is added in an industrial area of Poblenou in Barcelona. It is located in a building that housed the Fundació Epai Poblenou in the 80s and 90s, where artists such as Jannis Kounellis, Rebecca Horn, Mario Merz and John Cage showed their work for the first time in Spain. A space that will serve as a warehouse, permanent showroom and, occasionally, as an exhibition space.
“We bring together artists from different generations. This creates an enriching dialogue. Although we have international artists, we could draw a Spanish art family tree with our representatives, being present in the main movements and trends. We want to bring together diverse voices, disciplines and practices from a broader international perspective, with a focus on the Mediterranean and Latin America,” they explain.
Chronologically they will work with the estates of Joan Brossa (1919-1998), Antoni Tàpies (1923-2012), Joan Hernández Pijuan (1931-2005), Ana Mendieta (1948-1985) or Julião Sarmento (1948-2021), among others. They represent a generation of unquestionable masters who are still active such as Luis Gordillo (1934), Muntadas (1942), Richard Wentworth (1947), Juan Uslé (1954), José María Sicilia (1954), Victoria Civera (1955) Hannah Collins ( 1956) or Perejaume (1957). This group is closed by the same generation of artists to which the gallery owners belong: Shimabuku (1969), Ester Partegàs (1972), Leandro Erlich (1973), Anne-Lise Coste (1973), Erick Beltrán (1974), Wilfredo Prieto (1978), Francesco Arena (1978), Ignacio Uriarte (1980), Mercedes Azpilicueta (1981) or Juliana Cerqueira Leite (1981).
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