When the curator and art dealer Vito Schnabel decided to open his first permanent gallery space last December, he chose St. Moritz over the art districts of Chai Wan, Chelsea or Wynwood. He’s not alone: Exhibitions in ski resorts have become something of a phenomenon lately. This past summer, the curator Neville Wakefield organized a group show featuring work by Dan Colen, Damien Hirst and Richard Prince in an Aspen ski shop, while in Gstaad, Hauser & Wirth erected an exhibition of monumental Calder sculptures (“Calder in the Alps,” on view through March 31, 2017), many of which had never been exhibited in Switzerland before.
For Schnabel, the desire to put down roots in the Engadin Valley was inherited. “My friend and mentor, Bruno Bischofberger, first opened a gallery in St. Moritz in 1963, and I visited often throughout my childhood,” Schnabel says at his gallery, while its winter show of Jeff Elrod paintings is being installed. (It opens Dec. 29.) “When he offered me a space on Via Maistra, I knew it was an incredible opportunity to be part of the cultural conversation there.”