Asked over the phone if the new project had been in the works for a while, Algus replied, “no,” and explained that, having been a high school science teacher in Queens for the past 23 years, the move was more motivated by a change in personal finances and schedule.
“[Mayor Michael] Bloomberg didn’t give the [United Federation of] teachers a contract for five years,” Algus said, “then de Blasio came in and we got a contract and raised the pensions, and I was out of there.”
Algus has already planned shows with Steve Keister and Alan Turner. He came upon the new, smaller space simply walking down the street one day and noticed how low the rent on it was.
Algus Greenspon, which is on Morton Street, will not change its name and Algus said he will continue to work with the old gallery (“I’m working with Amy [Greenspon] now on the next show on Morton Street.”) He said he didn’t anticipate any difficulties splitting up artists with Greenspon, since the artists that he and Greenspon have a shared interest in are limited. In an email he said that both of them were interested in the likes of George Ortman, E’wao Kagoshima, Peter Young, and Gene Beery, while his own interests lie along the lines of Dan Burkhart, Magalie Comeau, Mark Prent, Lenny Contino, Juanita McNeely, and Betty Tompkins (who are among the other artists he will work with at the new gallery).
“Nothing’s changing with Algus Greenspon gallery,” Greenspon said in a phone call. “Mitchell is just expanding his purview to include his own exhibition space on the Lower East Side.”
(Greenspon declined to discuss a recent lawsuit between herself and Cyrus Greenspon over an Ad Reinhardt belonging to William Stuart Greenspon. “I have an attorney, it’s being dealt with, and I have full confidence that it will all be proven false. It’s all completely false accusations that my half-brother has put out there to benefit himself really,” she said. “I can’t really comment on it. I wouldn’t want it to affect this new development with the gallery because it’s really quite an exciting thing with both Mitchell and I, and we’re excited about the new opportunities, the new gallery, and the existing gallery, and our future of collaborating.”)
Algus opened his first gallery on Thompson Street in SoHo in 1992, moving to Chelsea in 2002, and then opened with Greenspon in 2010.