After Six Years, Red Bull Arts Is Shutting Down Its New York Venue Known for Hip, Multidisciplinary Shows

The energy drink company says it's shutting down "to focus our community impact at a more grassroots level."

Installation view of
Installation view of "Spaced Out: Migration to the Interior" at Red Bull Studios in 2014. Courtesy Red Bull Arts New York.

Red Bull is permanently closing its New York art venue this month after six years. The expansive, two-floor exhibition space garnered a reputation for a cutting-edge lineup of programming that prioritized both emerging artists of the present and underappreciated makers of the past. 

A solo show by artist and creative director Akeem Smith, which closed on November 15, will go down as the venue’s last. Red Bull Arts’s space in Detroit, which launched in 2012, remains open and will host Smith’s show about the Kingston, Jamaica, dancehall scene, titled “No Gyal Can Test,” next year.

“We are closing the physical Red Bull Arts New York space to focus our community impact at a more grassroots level,” a representative for Red Bull told Artnet News in a statement. “We remain committed to supporting local artists and partners.” 

The energy drink company declined to share further details about its decision. The space’s director and chief curator, Max Wolf, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Founded in 2013, Red Bull New York opened to the public the following year with a group show curated by DIS Magazine. “DISown – Not For Everyone,” as the show was called, took the form of a retail store designed by artist Lizzie Fitch and showcasing wares by Ryan Trecartin, Amalia Ulman, Bjarne Melgaard, Dora Budor, and Korakrit Arunanondchai, among others. 

In the following years came exhibitions such as a “Spaced Out: Migration to the Interior,” a trippy plunge into the art of psychedelia; “BIO:DIP,” a dual presentation of fleshly sculpture by Nicolas Lobo and Hayden Dunham; and “TOTAL PROOF,” a comprehensive presentation of the GALA Committee’s two-year project secreting agitprop on sets of the TV show Melrose Place.

Surveys dedicated to the careers of futurist street artist Rammellzee and Pictures Generation pioneer Gretchen Bender in 2018 and ‘19, respectively, were both critically acclaimed and cemented the venue’s status as a studied producer of ambitious programs.

Earlier this year, in an effort to support artists during lockdown, Red Bull Arts augmented its $1,000 microgrant program to 20 cities across the country.


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