Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Art Throbs; Two Golden Boys of the International Jet Set Have Descended on N1, Bringing with Them Papier-Mache Pigs, Giant Magnets and a Comet's Tail of Luminaries. Move over Jay Jopling and Larry Gagosian, Vito Schnabel and Alex Dellal Have Arrived; Gallery Guys

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Art Throbs; Two Golden Boys of the International Jet Set Have Descended on N1, Bringing with Them Papier-Mache Pigs, Giant Magnets and a Comet's Tail of Luminaries. Move over Jay Jopling and Larry Gagosian, Vito Schnabel and Alex Dellal Have Arrived; Gallery Guys

Article excerpt

Byline: Words by Anna van Praagh

At first glance the party spilling on to the pavement of Hoxton Square could have been just another of London's nightly exhibition openings. But as one examined the crowd more closely, a series of faces came into focus: Sir Norman Rosenthal, former exhibitions secretary of the Royal Academy; Julia PeytonJones, director of the Serpentine Gallery; Alice Dellal, with her tattooed gallery-owner boyfriend Ross Tanner; Tyrone Wood with his girlfriend Rosie Huntington-Whiteley; Gilbert & George; Dasha Zhukova; all present and correct. So how did an unknown gallery showcasing the work of an obscure American surrealist sculptor, Theo A Rosenblum, attract such a glossy turn-out?

The answer lies in the fact that the gallery, 20 Hoxton Square, belongs to Alex Dellal, 25, of the Dellal property dynasty, and the show was curated by Vito Schnabel, 22, son of former taxi driver, celebrated American artist, filmmaker and master bohemian Julian Schnabel. Between them, Alex and Vito have the power to conjure up a sparkling party just about any-wherand frequently do.

I meet Alex, louche, tanned and tousled in flip-flops, jeans and a dark blue T-shirt, two days after the Rosenblum private view, I Didn't Know There Was Chicken in This Soup, with already half the work, priced from [pounds sterling]2,000 to [pounds sterling]15,000, sold. We convene in his office on the first floor of the cavernous 11,000sq ft building he bought for [pounds sterling]2.4 million four years ago for his family property company, Allied Commercial Holdings, to turn into flats: 'But I just fell in love with the space.' Thanks to the largesse of his property magnate father Guy, the building, with its wooden floors, white walls and floorto-ceiling windows, is now his gallery, office and home. But 20 Hoxton Square is not the plaything of an idle young plutocrat; Alex's ambitions are philanthropic. While studying photography at the London College of Printing, he fell in with an arty crowd and was struck by how difficult his contemporaries were finding it to put on shows. 'I started helping to put exhibitions together. First it was just in friends' houses, then it started to grow.

'Places like White Cube are intimidating,' continues Alex softly, sipping a glass of water. 'Work is sold in a very elitist way, and for a certain budget. I wanted to do something different. We're not set up like most commercial galleries, booked up six months in advance. We take people in last minute and look at all artists; if you're good, then we'll take you.' Alex put on his first exhibition at the gallery in September 2006, showcasing a group of youthful unknowns. There have been ten subsequent shows, of which six sold out. A lot of the art, like Rosenblum's, is gloriously amateur (one of Rosenblum's star pieces is a small pig with its head sliced into ham, and sausages for its tail; a symbol of the perils of modern food production), but that's the whole point: to provide a stepping stone for new artists who aren't established or sophisticated - yet.

'We're not competing with the big galleries,' says Alex. 'When White Cube and Gagosian start stealing our artists we'll know we're succeeding. And in ten years' time, it's my dream that all the big artists of the age will have passed through 20 Hoxton Square.' In addition to scouting graduate shows for talent, Dellal edits a free bimonthly in-house paper, 20 Hoxton Square, written by artists for artists, as well as speculating, buying and developing property for his father's company.

The Dellal name has always been synonymous with risk-taking and riches. Alex's grandfather, 'Black' Jack Dellal, so called because of his success at the gaming table, is a multimillionaire property tycoon whose wealth is estimated at around the [pounds sterling]500 million mark. Alex's punky little sister, Alice, 21, is a face of Mango, the body of Agent Provocateur and is known for her half-shaven head; while his other sister, Charlotte, 28, is a shoe designer whose creations have been worn by Sienna Miller and Kate Moss. …

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