Fotografiska New York Is Seeking a New Home, Citing Space Constraints

Since opening five years ago, the private museum has mounted dozens of shows, but the space has its limitations.

Fotografiska. Photo courtesy of Fotografiska.

The New York exhibition venue of Fotografiska, the international private, for-profit photography museum, will shutter this fall as the organization seeks a new home in the city. Its Park Avenue South facility will close its doors on September 29 when its upcoming exhibitions of Vivian Maier and Bruce Gilden end their respective runs.

“Our focus moving forward will be museum operations, upcoming projects in our current and temporary locations, and managing our relocation,” said a representative in an email. “Unfortunately, this does mean a reduction down to a core team over the next few months, keeping in mind that we have the Vivian Maier and Bruce Gilden exhibits on view through September 29.” The restaurant and bar will close to the public in mid-June but remain available for member events and private rentals.

Founded in Stockholm in 2010, Fotografiska announced in 2021 that it would expand from its existing portfolio of sites in the Swedish capital, Tallinn and New York to new ones in Miami, Berlin, and Shanghai; the Miami expansion was later scrapped.

The Gotham space opened five years ago and has mounted 48 exhibitions, among them the first display of the photographs of artist Daniel Arsham, the first full U.S. retrospective of David LaChapelle, and the premiere of Andres Serrano’s “Infamous” series. 

Yoram Roth at Fotografiska Berlin. Courtesy Fotografiska.

But there are limitations to the space that have placed boundaries on what the institution can do there, said Fotografiska executive board chairman Yoram Roth. Even though the New York venue spans some 42,000 square feet in total, he pointed out in an email, only 7,600 of that is exhibition space; moreover, the walls are only nine feet high. Its locations in Berlin, Shanghai, Stockholm, and Tallinn, he added, all have 12,000+ square feet of gallery space with walls about 12 feet high.

These limits have stopped some projects by boldfaced names from going on view.

“I’ve been proud to have my work shown at Fotografiska locations in Europe,” said artist Shirin Neshat, “but the space constraints, especially the low ceilings, of the current building in New York are not conducive to exhibiting video works and have made it impossible for The Fury, currently on view at Fotografiska Berlin, to travel there. I look forward to following Fotografiska New York in their search for a new space fitting of the name.” 

”I have been collaborating with Fotografiska since their inception,” said photographer Edward Burtynsky, “and it has been a pleasure to have my work shown in both their Shanghai and Stockholm museums. They are a formidable institution and I look forward to their success in finding a new space in New York City that will accommodate their ever-expanding mandate for the photographic medium.”

The organization hopes to confirm a new location next year. In the meantime, it will work with partner institutions and mount shows at independent locations, starting off with an exhibition on a century of New York City nightlife. Its restaurant and bar will close in mid-June but remain available for member events and rentals.

“At the core of Fotografiska is a dedication to inspiring new perspectives by amplifying some of the greatest artists of our time,” said Roth. “As it’s become clear that our current space is not conducive to this vision, our commitment to the city’s art scene remains unwavering.”

“I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished with Fotografiska in just five years, cementing our role as part of the New York arts landscape through unique exhibitions and dynamic programming,” said Sophie Wright, executive director of Fotografiska New York. “I have tremendous respect for our staff, some of whom have been with us since opening, and offer my sincerest gratitude for their dedication and talent that contributed to our successes. I look forward to sharing updates of our upcoming programming.”

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