Sonnabend Gallery to Shutter and Lease Space to Lehmann Maupin
Lehmann Maupin‘s Chelsea gallery is relocating, taking over 536 West 22nd Street, currently home to the illustrious Sonnabend Gallery, which will close its exhibition space at year’s end. Though Sonnabend owns the space, it will be leasing it to Lehmann Maupin and will no longer have an exhibition space of its own, though its operations will otherwise continue, associate director Queenie Wong told artnet News in a phone interview.
After nearly 30 years in SoHo (Ileana Sonnabend opened her eponymous gallery there in 1971 after nine years of business in Paris), the gallery moved into its current space in May of 2000. Sonnabend and her adopted son, Antonio Homem, purchased the gallery’s 12,000 square-foot West 22nd Street home for $1.9 million, and spent $600,000 converting it into exhibition space. Following that Chelsea migration, New York Magazine reported that the duo intended to stay put for forty years, or as long as Chelsea remained the nexus of the New York art world.
Nevertheless, former Sonnabend co-director Jason Ysenburg confirmed to the New York Times in August that he had accepted a new position at Gagosian Gallery and that the gallery would be closing. In October, Real Estate Weekly reported that the space was for lease from Susan Penzner Real Estate. Sonnabend’s last exhibition, Andrea Robbins and Max Becher’s “Following the Ten Commandments,” closed November 1. Labyrinth, a full-scale labyrinth installation by Robert Morris, is still on view in the gallery courtyard.
“I am now seventy five years old and felt I should simplify my life,” Homem told artnet News in an e-mail of the decision to close. “The gallery will continue as before but without an exhibition space. I intend to go on working with my artists and work together with other galleries.”
Lehmann Maupin’s move anticipates the demolition of its current home at 540 West 26th Street (see “The Wrecking Ball Is Coming for Three Chelsea Galleries“), but is also part of an ambitious expansion plan for the dealer. The new location will open in late February, 2015, and will be followed by the opening of a second Chelsea space to be announced in the near-future—the gallery’s third New York venue (Lehmann Maupin expanded to the Lower East Side in 2007), and fourth overall (a Hong Kong outpost debuted last year).
“The gallery has experienced tremendous growth since moving to Chelsea in 2002, and we have anticipated a move into a larger, upgraded space in keeping with the gallery’s long-term plans for further growth,” said gallery founders Rachel Lehmann and David Maupin in a statement. “This is a thrilling opportunity for the development of our program, artists, and staff, both in New York and internationally.”
Lehmann Maupin’s moving announcement will likely be followed with similar news from the West 26th Street building’s other soon-to-be displaced dealer, Tony Shafrazi Gallery. As reported by the New York Observer, fellow tenant Stephen Haller Gallery has already merged with Stux Gallery and reopened in a 4,000-square-foot space on West 57th Street as Stux + Haller. Four blocks south on West 22nd Street, Zach Feuer is also facing an impending move (see “Owner of Former Dia Building Ousts Independent Fair and Zach Feuer“).
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