Four Veteran Art Dealers Team Up to Open a Beacon Gallery Asking Viewers to Show Up (IRL) and Slow Down

Analog Diary opens with an ambitious performance by Dan Colen and a group show including Radcliffe Bailey and Julia Rommel.

From left: Katharine Overgaard, Derek Eller, Abby Messitte, and Franklin Parrasch.
From left: Katharine Overgaard, Derek Eller, Abby Messitte, and Franklin Parrasch.

If you’ve been to Chelsea, you know the drill: open the gallery door, see a busy assistant’s head peeking over the front desk, and proceed into the exhibition. There are a handful of other gallery-goers, and they’re all either looking down at their iPhones or holding them up to take pictures.

This is the kind of scene that makes the dealers behind Analog Diary, a new space opening this month in Beacon, New York, a bit wistful. They hope to recapture a sense of community and you-had-to-be-there energy with their new gallery, which will place as much value on performance, video, music, and poetry as it does on traditional media like painting and sculpture.

The project is the brainchild of four veteran New York art dealers: Derek Eller, Abby Messitte, Katharine Overgaard, and Franklin Parrasch. (Eller and Messitte are behind Derek Eller Gallery; Overgaard and Parrasch are behind Franklin Parrasch.) They all say the setting of Beacon—an hour and a half by train from New York City—lets them experiment in ways that would be impossible in Manhattan, where rents are at least three times as high.

“When you’re running a business, you get so mired in logistics of day-to-day operations that the idea of talking to other professionals about art and keeping the focus on that is appealing,” Messitte told Artnet News.

It’s appealing to artists, too. The gallery’s inaugural show, “What a Long, Strange Trip” (May 28–July 24), will include works by Radcliffe Bailey, Brian Belott, Al Freeman, Julia Rommel, and Dorothea Tanning, among others.

Dan Colen, who also lives in upstate New York, will stage a performance, The Executioner, on July 23. It will be an expanded version of a project first staged at Anonymous Gallery in New York in which six dancers jumped, fell, and collapsed to a digitized rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.”

“I remember in the ’70s at the Kitchen, you had a sense of seeing something that’s right there and it’s only because you are there that you know what the art is,” said Parrasch, referring to the long-running alternative New York art space.

Analog Diary’s vision echoes other new commercial spaces, like 52 Walker in Tribeca, that encourage people to engage with art in person rather than through screens by prioritizing art that’s hard to capture in a photograph.

Parrasch and Overgaard hatched the idea for the gallery about a year ago; it occupies the former space of Parts and Labor, a collaborative project they operated with dealer Nicelle Beauchene between 2019 and 2021.

As more artists moved upstate during the pandemic, the setting became all the more attractive. (It helps that Parrasch, Eller, and Messitte all have places there, too.) The gallery will stage five to six shows each year.

“The idea of collaborating and mixing different ideas and seeing what happens—that is pure experimentation,” Parrasch said. “We’re inventing as we go along.”

“What a Long, Strange Trip” is on view at Analog Diary, 1154 North Avenue, Beacon, New York, from May 28 through July 24. 

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