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Goodbye to Yesterday: Toronto’s Tomorrow Gallery Opens in New York

106 Eldridge Street.TARA DOWNS

106 Eldridge Street.

TARA DOWNS

Toronto’s Tomorrow Gallery, which opened in 2011, was in a lot of ways ahead of the curve even by New York standards, giving early exposure to artists like Joshua Abelow, Sebastian Black, Brad Troemel, and other artists that are now more or less familiar to anyone with a gallery in Manhattan. The space was founded by Tara Downs and artists Aleksander Hardashnakov and Hugh Scott-Douglas. Hardashnakov and Scott-Douglas eventually departed to work on their careers, and Downs moved to Berlin to work as an associate director of the Tanya Leighton Gallery. She managed Tomorrow from there for a while, but she soon decamped for New York, shutting down the Toronto space. Tomorrow, which previously made a brief appearance in New York at the NADA art fair last May, will be re-opening on Eldridge Street on the Lower East Side this Sunday.

Moving to New York, Downs said in an interview, was “always the vision we had for the gallery,” though clearly things are different now. In Toronto, the three founders, all recent graduates from the Ontario College of Art and Design, opened up shop in a giant warehouse that used to be home to a paintball studio. (“It was pretty raw,” Downs said.) This was essentially frontier territory in the city, and soon other galleries started opening up around them. She describes her new space as “far more modest.” Downs is also entering a neighborhood that has no absence of likeminded neighbors.

“It’s just a completely different climate,” she said. “New York is so much more active and engaging and tumultuous and ever-changing. Everyone is so highly engaged in everyone’s business. In Toronto, there was a kind of distance that could be mediated, and that was kind of an advantage, I think.”

The gallery’s first show is a direct reference to all the hoopla. It features Bradley Kronz, Jason Matthew Lee, Mary Ann Aitken, Oto Gillen, Valerie Keane. It’s called “Eternal September,” which is, Downs said, “a reference to all time after September 1993.”

Downs was talking about the days before Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, when the Internet was still something of an exotic privilege, and all the new college freshman would arrive on campus. “They’d be given their first email addresses, and join message boards and generally misunderstand etiquette and how to behave online. Then they would settle down, and everything wouldn’t start up again until the new class the next September.”

That is until September 1993, when AOL started offering USENET access to all of its users. “And it’s kind of like chaos reigned,” Downs said. “It’s not like every September there was chaos with these new students and then it settled down. It’s just continuous, endless change.”

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