Amid the art-world recession, some galleries are saying they’re closing for the summer to take advantage of the downturn and its lower rents. For example: ZieherSmith is “currently renovating a new gallery space in Chelsea”; 303 Gallery is consolidating its two Chelsea spaces into one; the Proposition is hosting “virtual exhibitions” on its website while the owner shops for a new space; and Moti Hasson Gallery announced on its site: “We are in the moving process,” and cautions, “We no longer accept artist submissions.”
Closed gallery doors evoke chilling memories of the early nineties, when, during the downturn, a handful of galleries temporarily closed, never to reopen. Amy Smith-Stewart, whose eponymous Stanton Street gallery is also taking an “extended summer,” asserts that this is purely about scoring a better lease. “The lease is up, so I decided to take advantage of the uptick in available commercial spaces for less,” she explains. A similar logic is behind the recent closing of Rare Gallery, which is undergoing a relocation process: “I felt it was time to change things up in terms of our look and to take advantage of the lower rents available,” says Pete Surace, president. Nevertheless, the real test will be whether the galleries reopen come fall.