It has been a wild year for the Lower East Side gallery district, with veteran dealers closing, all sorts of enterprises opening up and relocating, and at least one blue-chip macher plotting a grand and ambitious entrance.
The latest news is that JTT, the venturesome gallery started by Jasmin Tsou in 2012, will be moving a few blocks away from its modestly sized home on Suffolk Street to a 1,500-square-foot second-floor space at 191 Chrystie. The new space, which is just a stone’s throw away from the New Museum and heavyweight outfits like Salon 94, Sperone Westwater, and Lehmann Maupin, will open November 13 with a show of the great Diane Simpson’s early “Samurai” works. The final exhibition at 170A Suffolk will be Cole Sayer’s current display, “Wicked,” which runs through this Sunday, October 16.
“Moving was inevitable as we only have 300 square feet of exhibition space at our current location,” Tsou told me this afternoon by email. “I’m extremely proud of the ambitious projects we exhibited over the past years in such a small space, especially our 2013 show of Charles Harlan’s massive 15-foot-by-10-foot pipe. Some bodies of work, however, simply would have been disserviced by such a small gallery. Diane Simpson’s ‘Samurai’ series is a perfect example.”
JTT shows Jamian Juliano-Villani, the late Bill Walton, Borna Sammak, Marlon Mullen, and Anna-Sophie Berger, among other artists, and has also pulled a few delightful rabbits out of its hat in its four years in business, like an Urs Fischer show this summer that had as its centerpiece a version of Maillol’s La Rivière (1938–39/43) made of modeling clay that visitors were invited to dissemble and alter, and an exhibition last year with Aki Sasamoto, whose performances involved her using a fake wall to push visitors out of the gallery and onto the sidewalk.
A move to a floor above street level is becoming something of a trend in the neighborhood, with many established galleries, like Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, 47 Canal, Foxy Production, Miguel Abreu, Feuer/Mesler, and Mathew, all now having at least one location in a space above the action-packed streets of the Lower East Side or Chinatown, where galleries, chill craft beer bars, restaurants, and ice cream shops are opening at a rapid clip.
Real-estate broker Jonathan Travis, who has found spaces for dealers Casey Kaplan, Alexander and Bonin (which is set to open its new space in TriBeCa this week), and Anton Kern (who is headed to Midtown), found the new spot, Tsou said, adding, “Real estate awareness is such a huge part of being a dealer but the reality of the real estate market is overwhelming. I’m glad that we found a new home so I can go back to focusing on what I love doing.”