Landlord Forces Artists Space to Shut Its Doors

The landlords are building a penthouse expansion.

Sam Pulitzer, installation view of "A Colony for 'Them'" (2014) at Artists Space. Photo: Daniel Pérez.

Artists Space, a non-profit which, for 23 years, has made a home at 38 Greene Street in SoHo, has been forced by its landlord, Zar Properties to temporarily shut its doors. The landlord, who acquired the building in 2008), is building a penthouse expansion on the property.

Zar properties intends to add a 12,000 square-foot office space above the Greene Street building which requires reinforcing columns to be added throughout the structure. However, the company has failed to communicate with Artists Space director Stefan Kalmár the exact construction time frame nor offered any means of compensation, according to Blouin Artinfo.

The New York venue dedicated to showing contemporary artists such as Hito Steyerl, Sam Pulitzer, and most recently, the gay erotica of Tom of Finland, was planning a solo show for emerging artist Cameron Rowland when it was obligated to shut its doors in September—delaying the show until January 2016.

38 Greene Street where Artists Space has been for 23 years. Photo: via Art Info.

38 Greene Street where Artists Space has been for 23 years.
Photo: via Art Info.

“[Zar] behaves in a way that ignores tenant rights, let alone our work spanning 23 years in this building and being a good tenant over that period,” Kalmár told Artinfo. “It’s not our fault that we have a lease from ’93. It’s not our fault that [Zar] loses, in current market rates, likely over $500,000 annually on this floor.”

Kalmár said Artists Space is now working with several attorneys in response to the “bullying,” noting that they would be looking for compensation for the interruption in their schedule, or denying the landlord access to do work in their space until the lease expires in 2019.

The conflict between the celebrated institution and the for-profit property company has come at a pivotal time in New York when rent prices are skyrocketing at unparalleled proportions. Come 2019, Artists Space will not be the first and last small art institution to feel the tightening of the belt. This April, 34-year-old non-profit Art in General did not renew their lease at their SoHo/Tribeca space because of rising rent rates.

Related stories:

Why I Believe New York’s Art Scene Is Doomed

Hito Steyerl’s Artists Space Show Mixes Money, Violence, and Art and Delights The Mind

Tom of Finland Gets the Artists Space Treatment in his Biggest Show Yet

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