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Karma, Beloved Art Bookseller, Is Moving to the Lower East Side

38 Orchard Street.COURTESY KARMA

38 Orchard Street.


Karma, the New York–based bookseller and gallery that has run a shop on Great Jones Street since 2013, and another in the Long Island town of Amagansett since 2012, is moving its Manhattan location to a temporary storefront at 38 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side. The space will open this Friday with a book launch by artist Paul Lee. At the end of February, Karma’s lease ended on the Great Jones space, which closed after a final show by artist Bjarne Melgaard.

Karma’s roots are in publishing, but it has become known for hosting shows by contemporary artists including Mark Grotjahn, Brice Marden, Dike Blair, Rudolf Stingel, and Marianne Vitale. Brendan Dugan, Karma’s founder, called the Orchard Street space “really a bookstore, so it’s going to allow us to focus on that.”

“It could be temporary or it could be permanent,” Dugan said of the new space. “I really like the idea of it, and the location is really great. There’s lots of new foot traffic here.” (Orchard Street, being the mainline through the L.E.S. art district, puts Karma in the center of a number of galleries, a kind of departure from Great Jones Street, which was isolated by comparison.)

He said he was working on a program schedule to host events once a week on Orchard Street, veering away from the usual schedule for galleries, which organize new exhibitions every six weeks. “It’s a way to keep busy while we finalize our space,” Dugan said. “This is an interesting moment to kind of not rush into anything.” He described the real-estate market as “really overpriced. I don’t know if we’ll find any relief, but it’s helpful to have time to look.”

He wouldn’t say where else he was looking for a permanent spot, but added that it would be somewhere in Manhattan. He did allude to the fact that Karma may stray from the pack, as it were. Dugan mentioned the absence of galleries on Great Jones Street, as well as at Karma’s Amagansett space, which will begin its 2016 exhibition schedule in May. “I like being in places just where we’re on our own,” he said.

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