“Press releases can be a challenge to write, and then they come together,” the Hudson, New York–based art dealer Jeff Bailey wrote in an email to his mailing list last night. “Words hopefully go beyond mere description. The best ones are usually short. It is a different challenge to write about the closing of one’s gallery.” But that moment has arrived. The gallery’s next exhibition, “Chain Chain Chain,” a group show curated by Maxwell Taylor-Milner, will be its last. It opens September 15 and closes on October 28. “Time moves on, situations change, new opportunities arise,” Bailey wrote.
“The reasons for closing are personal, not economic,” Bailey told me today. “My spouse has recently retired, and we’d like to spend more time together. No time like the present, right?” During his 15-year run, his did shows with artists like Louise Belcourt, Matt Connors, Lonnie Holley, Fabienne Lasserre, Kris Chatterson, Duncan Hannah, Irena Jurek, Michael Berryhill, Walter Robinson, and many more.
Bailey opened his eponymous gallery in New York City in March of 2003—first taking a space on the eighth floor of 511 West 25th Street before moving to the second floor and then to a stretch of West 27th Street that was once home to Wallspace, Foxy Production, Edward Winkleman, and others. In 2014, he decided to move the gallery to Hudson, a city of just under 10,000 that is about two hours north of the city by train and popular with a certain segment of the art crowd. (The New Art Dealers Alliance hosted fairs there in 2011 and 2012.)
“Jeff had a great set-up in Hudson, a good gallery space with a back veranda and then a book-filled house down the road for artist dinners,” Robinson said by email today. “His program was perfect for Hudson, a lot of sophisticated painting, much of it at drawing-room scale. I had a show there in the summer of 2016, and Jeff made a really smart selection. The opening was lively, with countryfied New Yorkers coming from all over. He sold exceptionally well, too.”
Bailey said that he’ll continue to advocate for his artists and collaborate with other galleries. He noted that Amy Pleasant, with whom he’s worked for the entire life of his gallery, will soon have a show at the Tom Swope Gallery in town. He’s also planning to remain on the board of trustees of the Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon, which is also in the Hudson Valley, about 30 miles away. (Earlier this year, his gallery hosted a show called “Line and Curve: The Ellsworth Kelly and Jack Shear Shaker Collection from Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon with Prints by Ellsworth Kelly,” which is now on view at the New Britain Museum of Art in Connecticut.)
“The move to Hudson was successful for the gallery,” Bailey told me. “It’s my fifth season, and leaving it is bittersweet. I can’t imagine not having had a gallery and showing emerging artists. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”