Attention Mail Carriers: 47 Canal Gallery Is Returning to Its Original Digs at 47 Canal Street

The gallery says its expansion will allow for greater flexibility and experimentation.

Courtesy 47 Canal Gallery
Courtesy 47 Canal Gallery

47 Canal Gallery, the Lower East Side mainstay that represents artists including Anicka Yi and Josh Kline, is expanding—by returning to its original location. Several years after leaving its namesake address for a larger space a one-minute hop away, at 291 Grand Street, 47 Canal is moving back to its original digs once again. The gallery plans to operate both spaces moving forward.

“It’s really exciting for us to get our namesake back—it was really confusing for people,” the gallery’s co-founder Margaret Lee tells artnet News. (Mail carriers, in particular, will be thrilled to have the name of the business match its address again, she notes.) The first show at the reclaimed space, due to open September 8, is a retrospective of video work by Trevor Shimizu, who is best known as a painter.

Lee, an artist herself and manager of Cindy Sherman‘s studio, made a splash in the post-2008 recession Lower East Side gallery scene by building up an unconventional, artist-run space at 179 Canal in 2009. Two years later, with co-founder and boyfriend Oliver Newton, she opened 47 Canal, and it quickly drew intense curatorial interest. Fellow artists and friends who show with 47 Canal include Michele Abeles, Antoine Catala, Alisa Baremboym, KAYA, and Ajay Kurian. (Since it moved to 291 Grand, the gallery has been subletting the 47 Canal space to Mathew Gallery.)

The goal, Lee says, is to use the additional 1,400-square-foot Canal Street space as a site for experimentation. The strict calendar at the Grand Street gallery—two shows in the fall and four shows in the spring—sometimes required them to plan up to two years in advance and resulted in “almost no flexibility.”

Lee plans to present a mix of established names and new discoveries at 47 Canal, and will also offer artists the opportunity to organize group shows of their own there. “Instead of saying, ‘We can’t fit you in for another three years,'” the gallery can accommodate projects more quickly, she says.

Indeed, as soon as Lydia Rodrigues, who runs a fashion salon, heard that 47 Canal would be reoccupying its former space, she asked if the gallery would host her for a week. Visitors can preview designers’ collections that Rodrigues culls from travel to Paris and Milan.

Rodrigues’s salon will open immediately following Shimuzu’s exhibition on October 9. “People are already going there looking for us. So when they do stop in, there will always be something special going on,” Lee says. “Exhibitions, not exhibitions… little surprises here and there.”


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