In what appears to be a continuing trend of gallery closures throughout New York, Mike Weiss Gallery in Chelsea has shut its doors. In a phone conversation with ARTnews, gallery owner Mike Weiss confirmed the news last night.
Weiss cited issues with the construction on a luxury condominium, the FitzRoy, next door to his gallery on West 24th Street, as the reason for his decision to close his gallery. He said that not only have the gallery’s facilities been damaged throughout the demolition of the previous building—including damage to 100 feet of the gallery’s wall and humidity damage to artworks—but that he, his employees, and his artists have been verbally assaulted by the site’s construction workers.
“We survived three hurricanes, a drop in the economy, but we can’t seem to survive this,” Weiss said, noting that he spent around a quarter of a million dollars in rebuilding the gallery’s infrastructure after 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, which wreaked havoc on many of the neighborhood’s galleries. (The companies behind the development and construction of the FitzRoy, JDS Development Group and Largo NYC, did not wish to comment for this article.)
After placing 80 calls to 311 over the past year and a half and filing a lawsuit against the construction company, Weiss said he decided that dealing with this on a daily basis was no longer worth it, calling the situation “unresolvable.” The breaking point, he said, was that the construction company was going to put around 30 to 40 feet of scaffolding in front of the gallery’s entrance.
The final show at the space was Dan Schein’s “Where Do We Dump The Bodies?” which closed on October 8. At the moment, Weiss, whose roster included Deborah Brown, Marc Séguin, and Liao Yibai, does not have plans to reopen the gallery in a new location and will not continue to represent artists full time. He said, “It’s important for my artists to somewhat move on, though I’ll help in any way I can.” He said he might become a private art dealer in the near future, but he still hasn’t made a final decision of what he’ll do next.
“Just walking around in Chelsea, I don’t enjoy it anymore. There’s so much construction and noise,” Weiss said. “If you can’t get walk-in traffic, why be in Chelsea?”