Anyone shocked at the sudden departure of Paul Schimmel from his position as partner and vice president at Hauser & Wirth does not remember how surprising his initial hire was. News that he was joining the firm as a partner back in 2013, entrusted to oversee a new Los Angeles outpost, was met with questions in the local art community.
Would the Hauser Wirth mega-gallery in California really be as “museum-like” as Schimmel insisted? And would Schimmel, a lifelong curator known for running the show at the Museum of Contemporary Art and for lacking both sales experience and a commercially inclined temperament, really care about closing deals? Now that his departure has been announced without any additional explanation from the gallery or Schimmel, those questions are circulating again.
He is not the only major departure from the West Coast branch of the gallery in recent months. The galley’s “head of education” Andrea Stang, who worked closely under Schimmel at MOCA before massive layoffs there, also left without any public explanation on 16 December.
Marc Payot, another partner and vice president of Hauser & Wirth, is taking over the Los Angeles space, with Stacen Berg continuing to serve as senior director.