The news today from the seemingly endless game of musical chairs among New York’s commercial galleries is that Galerie Perrotin will be leaving its Madison Avenue digs for the Lower East Side. The gallery will move to a 25,000-square-foot space at 130 Orchard Street, opening up shop in 2017. Since 2013, Perrotin has shared a landmarked building on the Upper East Side with the dealer Dominique Lévy, who announced earlier this month that she’d be taking over the entire space for herself.
Just a few years ago, the Lower East Side was seen as the scrappy alternative to the city’s other main art districts, Chelsea and the Upper East Side, but those distinctions continue to break down, thanks in part to rising prices all across Manhattan, which have priced more than a few of the smaller L.E.S. galleries out of the neighborhood already. Many other established dealers have been migrating downtown, if only temporarily, including Gavin Brown (who also recently opened a space in Harlem), Zach Feuer (who runs a joint business with Joel Mesler, who shuttered his Orchard Street space late last year), Marlborough (whose space was taken over in 2016 by Canada gallery), and Marianne Boesky (who is closing down her L.E.S. space this year). Until recently, a dealer like Perrotin, who has galleries in Paris, Hong Kong, and Seoul, and whose artist roster includes market darlings Takashi Murakami and KAWS, moving to the LES would have come as a surprise; not so much in 2016.
Perrotin’s new space dates from 1902 and has previously been home to the Beckenstein fabric factory, whose sign still adorns the building’s facade. A statement from Perrotin described the L.E.S. as being “reminiscent” of the art world’s “Soho days, now long gone.” One could probably say the same of the art world’s L.E.S. days, too!