Bridget Finn, who for the last four years has served as the director of Mitchell-Innes & Nash’s contemporary programming, will leave to be the managing director of Reyes Projects, a gallery in Birmingham, Michigan. It is a homecoming for Finn—prior to stints at Anton Kern gallery in New York and Independent Curators International, she received a BFA at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, which is near her hometown, the suburb of Grosse Pointe.
“I felt like it really does seem like an uncanny fit, between the fact that I grew up just east of the city, I went to college in Detroit, and I have such a deep affection for Detroit,” Finn said during a phone interview. “There are so many different people who contribute to the art scene and beyond there. The art world is really centered in New York, and oftentimes L.A., and being able to think about offsetting that a little is really exciting to me.”
Reyes Projects was opened this year by former Marlborough Contemporary director Terese Reyes in a nearly 5,000-square-foot space in a landmarked former jewelry shop in the center of town. It aims to engage with the local art scene as well as artists from outside the area. This December, it will participate for the first time in the NADA Miami Beach fair, which goes on concurrently with Art Basel Miami Beach.
Though Finn has not lived in Michigan since she graduated 12 years ago and moved to New York, she’s returned to visit frequently and collaborated with many local institutions. In August, the Detroit gallery What Pipeline invited Pope.L, one of the artists represented by Mitchell-Innes & Nash, to stage a show that involved the artist selling bottles of water from Flint, the nearby city that has suffered from a lack of potable water, to benefit the organization that oversees the metropolitan area’s drinking water.
“I was in Detroit for Pope.L’s project at What Pipeline and the opening was packed full of people who are interested in contemporary art, and it was wonderful,” Finn told me.
Finn left New York for Detroit late last week, and said she plans on acclimating to the city’s energy before starting to program the space. Upcoming shows at Reyes this fall include solo exhibitions byNancy Mitchnick and Marie Herwald Hermann.
In addition to her work at ICI and various galleries, Finn is also a co-founder of the Greenpoint gallery and project space Cleopatra’s, which she started with Bridget Donahue, Erin Somerville, and Kate McNamara in 2008, with Colleen Grennan coming on board in 2011. They signed a 10-year lease that they never planned on renewing, meaning that this May the space will come to an end.
“Cleopatra’s has been the joy of a lifetime—all of our longest relationships are with with each other,” she said. “There was a naïveté to us opening that space, we were very young, and on a whim we decided to start that long-running project together.”
When asked if she would return to program the final show, Finn said even in the new role, she’ll have to be in New York from time to time for a variety of reasons.
“I have a feeling I’m going to be back a lot,” she said.