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‘It Is Not Fun Anymore’: Envoy Enterprises Closes After a Decade on the Lower East Side

The Envoy Enterprises space on Rivington Street.

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After over a decade on the Lower East Side, first on Chrystie Street and then on Rivington Street, a few blocks away, Envoy Enterprises will close its gallery space in August, it announced in an email blast. The final show is called “So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu,” and will feature a number of the artists who have shown at the gallery over the past ten years.

Owner Jimi Dams broke the news in a bitter missive that lashed out at the current state of the art scene in New York—”an art industry where eyes have been replaced by dollar signs,” he writes. 

The final show will open Friday. The full text of the letter follows.

Dear friends,

As of August 4th, envoy enterprises will close its gallery space.

While we will continue to exist, the time has come to take a step back and change the formula.

The reason for my decision is simple….  it is not fun anymore.

In my opinion the art industry has developed into an uninteresting, boring entity.

I have no interest in mimicking innovation. I have no interest in any kind of short-termism and I do not wish to be a part of an art industry in which a four leaf clover gets stripped of its extra leaf to make it fit into the standard idea of a clover.

I have no interest in being part of an art industry where eyes have been replaced by dollar signs; an eagerness to experience and learn replaced by hiring personal shoppers; and ambition, which once used to push the quality of art, reduced to a hunger for being listed in whatever top ten du jour.

On top of that, I find the continuous focus on ‘art fairs’ incomprehensible and its vulgarity staggering.

Is there really any one out there who believes people visit art fairs from a desire to improve their perceptions?

We should be improving people’s lives through art, we should be trying to create a world where art is living on every level, indivisible from life and for everyone to experience. Art should be about an attitude and about not being frightened of being thought of as uncool. It should be the antithesis of consumerism and aesthetic corruption that riddles the art world.

It should be about the idealization and aestheticization of daily life as opposed to guarding so-called critical high standards within the increasingly static art establishment and its ridiculous hierarchy.

It should be, but it is not.

Thank you to everyone who supported ee over the years. I appreciate your loyalty and love more than you can imagine.

I wish all of you a lot of kindness and a wonderful summer.

Jimi Dams.

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