Is Tony Shafrazi’s New Gallery Space in Red Hook?

Pioneer Works could have a new neighbor.

Shafrazi. Photo: Courtesy of Patrick McMullan.
Shafrazi.
Photo: Courtesy of Patrick McMullan.

Is Tony Shafrazi opening shop in Brooklyn’s Red Hook? artnet News has received an anonymous tip via email that Shafrazi has “leased a commercial space in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where he’ll build up his new art gallery.”

In addition to contacting artnet News, someone has also updated the gallerist’s Wikipedia entry. The page has been edited four times today, including three changes entered from one IP address using a mobile phone app, and currently states that “in May 2015, after being evicted from his gallery space in Soho, Shafrazi leased a commercial space in Red Hook, Brooklyn where he plans to move his gallery.”

Undermining the hypothesis that it was Shafrazi who updated his own page, the Wikipedia edit is slightly confused and conflates Shafrazi’s recent landlord dispute at his SoHo loft (see Tony Shafrazi Getting Evicted from His SoHo Loft) with his now-vacated Chelsea gallery (see The Wrecking Ball Is Coming for Chelsea Building Housing Tony Shafrazi, Lehmann Maupin, and Stephen Haller). The gallery building is reportedly being replaced with a 130,000-square-foot development.

Following the gallery eviction, Shafrazi filed a $20 million lawsuit against his former landlord (see Bitter Tony Shafrazi Sues Landlord for $20 Million After Eviction). The gallerist has accused the property’s owners of tricking him into signing a 15-year lease even though they knew digging was about to begin below on the No. 7 train extension.

Shafrazi claims the gallery was exposed to toxic dust and noise pollution, and that vibrations from dynamite blasts endangered millions of dollars worth of artwork. He had allegedly spent $3.2 million renovating the former garage with the understanding that he would be able to renew the lease in 2018.

Though Red Hook may seem like a radical move for Tony Shafrazi—a Manhattan stalwart since the late 1970s who became known for showing works by rising graffiti artists like Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquiat—he does seem rather fed up with Chelsea as the heart of the New York art world. “I wouldn’t piss on it,” he said to the New York Post‘s Page Six of the neighborhood in March during a 40-minute tirade against rising rents there and in SoHo.

The formerly industrial neighborhood of Red Hook is also home to a burgeoning art scene led by the Pioneer Works Center for Arts and Innovation, founded by artist Dustin Yellin (see Dustin Yellin Makes Art with Homeless Kids at Pioneer Works).

As of publication time, Shafrazi has not responded to our request for comment.


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