Simon Lee Gallery enters administration following tax dispute

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Simon Lee Gallery is now in joint administration with the business advisory firm BDO LLP according to a notice placed yesterday in the window of the gallery’s London space. A limited company goes into administration when it is in debt and cannot pay the money it owes, ceding control to an insolvency practitioner. The court-ordered administration came after a petition from Barclays Bank; three partners from BDO have been appointed as the joint administrators of Simon Lee Gallery Limited.

This decision comes after The Art Newspaper reported last month that the gallery had been undergoing a sustained period of financial difficulty, including a Companies House notice to be dissolved, over a tax dispute. The gallery’s founder Simon Lee said at the time that the dispute “has now been resolved”, and that he expected an insolvency hearing—originally scheduled for today—to be dismissed.

Matthew Tait, one of the three BDO directors to be appointed as joint administrators, says in a statement to The Art Newspaper: “The joint administrators are working swiftly to review the available options for the company with a view to achieving the best outcome for creditors as a whole, in line with their duties. In the immediate term, our focus is to safeguard the company’s assets, including works held on consignment. We appreciate that represented artists, and creditors more generally, will have concerns and we are in the process of collating and confirming relevant information.”

It is not yet known if the gallery will remain open to the public during the administration process; under UK law, companies can continue trading while under administration.

Simon Lee was founded in 2002 in London. The gallery opened a second location in Hong Kong in 2012, and a third in New York in 2017. The New York space ceased operations in 2020.

The gallery counts some 40 artists on its roster, including the market heavyweights George Condo and Christopher Wool. Recently Simon Lee saw the departure of one of its most high-profile artists, Sonia Boyce, just two years after she signed.

A representative from Simon Lee could not be reached by time of publication.

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