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In Memoriam: Galleries Closing in New York City

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.” Yikes, the number of galleries that are closing (hey it’s just temporary, we’re looking for something cheap on the Lower East Side) becomes unignorable. Over the last six weeks I’ve been collecting images of galleries that have closed. Some are old friends, who I’ll miss. Others were supposed “solid” operations that could weather the storm because of friends with heavy connections and deep pockets. Alas, when the shit hits, you find out how fragile the illusions of the commercial art world really are. But as I always tell my young galleriest friends, “it’s (the NY art world) like the X File, charters you thought were dead show up in the next season” (although, if you stick an ice pick in their neck green foam squirts out). How far this “cleansing” will continue is still to be seen.

James Kalm, in his cruising, has been collecting footage to document the closings of galleries as a result of the current economic recession. With this video, viewers see the buildings left vacant by the departures of over twenty five galleries. While some are replaced with new businesses, the devastation is the worst seen locally since the collapse of the late eighties. And unfortunately, this may only be the beginning.

Signature elements / other closures

I enjoyed the signature elements in Loren's "death march": the ubiquitous bicycle left like a calling card, his fleeting reflection in the plate glass. This is the residue of performance art that colors his journalism. Caveat lector.

He references 25 spaces that have closed their doors, either permanently or with plans to relocate:

Rivington Arms
Museum 52
31 Grand
Bond Street
Fruit & Flower Deli
Smith Stewart
Guild & Greyshkul
Plane Space
Phillips de Pury
Cohan and Leslie
Kinz, Tillou & Feigen
Feigen Contemporary
The Proposition
Moti Hasson
Caren Golden
Roebling Hall

Other gallery space closures:

Charles Cowles (24th Street)
Mary Boone (24th Street, consolidating to 57th Street)
ZieherSmith (25th Street, relocating)
Esso Gallery (26th Street, relocating)
White Box (26th Street, relocated to Broome Street)
Hudson Franklin (26th Street)
Oliver Kamm (27th Street)
Cynthia Broan (29th Street)
303 Gallery (22nd Street, consolidating to 21st Street)
Janos Gat (Bowery)
33 Bond (relocating)
McCaig Welles (Billyburg)

Are you sure about these?:

Heist just had an opening.
Phillips de Pury is still on 15th Street, no?

We're more than half way through summer, the usual slow season. Some galleries are now running on fumes, with too little operating capital from a year of disappointing sales. Will there be an additional spate of closings come September?

To be continued

James Kalm
This piece is a work in progress. It started out as a lark, but as the numbers started to pileup, and the dear departed began to include more friends and acquaintances, its nature changed, became more shocking. I'm not looking forward to the next version, but somebody's gotta do it.