Gavin Brown Doubles Down With New Space in Harlem

Gavin Brown
Photo: Clint Spaulding/Patrick McMullan.

Gavin Brown is moving his gallery to Harlem, leaving behind his Grand Street space following his upcoming exhibition of work by Rirkrit Tiravanija, Jannis Kounnelis, and Sturtevant.

The dealer’s new headquarters, at 461 West 126th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Avenue, is a former brewery now known as the Malt House.

“It’s a very dramatic space and reminds me somewhat of a cathedral—an urban secular cathedral,” said Brown to the New York Times.

Opening in late September with a show of Ed Atkins, the gallery will feature three floors of exhibition space, only one of which will be remodeled into the traditional white cube.

Though many have been predicting that skyrocketing rents will mark the end of the Chelsea gallery district, few, if any, have named Harlem as its potential successor. While a gallery north of 86th street may seem like a duck out of water, it isn’t actually that unexpected of a move for the gallerist, who has lived in the neighborhood for several years.

Gavin Brown's new Harlem space. Photo via: Google Street View.

Gavin Brown’s new Harlem space.
Photo via: Google Street View.

Brown has even converted the first floor of his apartment on Lenox Avenue between 121st and 122nd streets into an informal gallery space, occasionally hosting small shows there.

In 2012, Brown took advantage of his proximity to Randall’s Island and hosted a Frieze Week exhibition featuring Joe Bradley, Hans Josephsohn, and Wilchar at his home. Earlier this year, artnet News visited and got a sneak peak of Rob Pruitt‘s “The Obama Paintings,” currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.

Brown will bring a decidedly more blue-chip operation to the neighborhood, following the launch of Tatiana Pagés Gallery last year.

Gavin Brown at the Frieze New York VIP Preview (2014). Photo: Patrick McMullan.

Gavin Brown at the Frieze New York VIP Preview (2014). Photo:
Patrick McMullan.

At his new gallery space, it appears Brown will be sharing the building with another upscale tenant: this past fall, a luxury hotel called Uptown House announced plans to develop the space with 40 rooms, a rooftop bar, a pool, and other high-end amenities.

The neighborhood has been dubbed the Manhattanville Factory District by the Janus Property Company, which is looking to develop several properties in the area.

While it remains to be seen if the art glitterati will be willing to head up to Harlem, the popularity of Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster restaurant at 125th Street, which regularly draws well-heeled crowds, and the ubiquitous real estate vultures, likely increase Brown’s chances of success.

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