US art market: a new format for post-pandemic art galleries

Interior view of the Sélavy Gallery in Southampton, Hamptons

As you know, during the protracted quarantine in the United States, many collectors, followed by galleries, art consultants, and other participants in the art market, pulled from big cities closer to the ocean.

For New Yorkers, the Hamptons became such a place by the sea. It is a group of small resort towns located on Long Island, New York. However, not everyone is limited to transferring a business to a new location. Art dealers Christina and Emmanuelle Di Donna, owners of the large New York gallery Di Donna, went further and opened a new gallery in Southampton in a new format.

The Sélavy Gallery, which opened its doors to visitors this week, is an astonishing blend of the online store, salon, and art gallery with showroom function. The owners themselves define the format of the new space as a continuation of their living room – a mixture of designer furniture from their collection, paintings, works on paper, and sculptures.

Developing this thought, Emmanuel Di Donna said about his new project that from a personal point of view, they were very comfortable living surrounded by their collection all this time [of self-isolation] … and they understand that people may not be comfortable entering [traditional] galleries right now.

The Sélavy space is a room with transparent walls, inside which the design of a residential interior is created. Thus, anyone who wants to, even without going inside, through the spacious showcase windows, can literally consider and acquire a piece of the life he has seen. The name of the gallery – Sélavy, which is consonant with the French c’est la vie, “this is life” in English, refers to this. All items presented in the gallery can be further explored and purchased on the Sélavy website.

In the future, it is planned that access to the full functionality of the site will be possible only for registered users, but so far, everything is free. It is also planned that the interior of the gallery, as well as its assortment, will be updated every six weeks. In the words of Cristina Di Donna: Sélavy is a hybrid: part living room, part showroom, part online store. Houses also develop over time. It takes years of changes to various details and the entire interior to find what suits you completely. So it will be in Sélavy.



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