SoHo’s nonprofit Drawing Center will reopen in expanded facilities on Sept. 13 after a yearlong hiatus.
The $9.6-million dollar renovation, undertaken by Claire Weisz, founder and principal of New York firm WXY Architecture + Urban Design, will provide 50 percent more exhibition and programming space. It will convert the basement, dubbed The Lab, into gallery and programming space and the second floor into offices. This will allow the rear of the first floor, formerly occupied by offices, to be used as an additional gallery, designated the Drawing Room.
Three exhibitions, open through Oct. 25, will inaugurate the fall season. In the main gallery will be “Guillermo Kuitca: Diarios,” the first U.S. museum showing of the series of works, made from 2005 to the present, of discarded paintings on which the Argentinian artist draws. The Drawing Room will present a selection of notebooks by José Antonio Suárez Londoño from 1998 to the present. The Lab will house “In Deed: Certificates of Authenticity in Art,” organized by independent curators Susan Hapgood and Cornelia Lauf.
The renovation of its existing space follows several years of uncertainty around possible moves, ending with the 35-year-old museum remaining at its longstanding location at 35 Wooster St. In the meantime, the surrounding area has seen an influx of new nonprofits and commercial art galleries, anchored by the New Museum’s new facility on the Bowery, which opened in 2007.
The Drawing Center was a candidate for relocation to the World Trade Center, but withdrew from consideration in 2005 after then Gov. George Pataki, in response to a kerfuffle over certain previously exhibited works deemed to be unpatriotic, required candidates to pledge that no such work would be exhibited at the Freedom Center. The museum later announced a plan to build a $60-million facility at the South Street Seaport, which was scrapped in 2010.