Team Gallery, one of the last remaining vital galleries in SoHo, is closing its space at 47 Wooster Street, which it opened in May 2011. All of its New York shows will now take place at its space at 83 Grand Street, less than a block away.
Jose Freire confirmed the news with ARTnews during a chat in the gallery’s basement offices Thursday afternoon, right before the openings of new shows by Ross Knight at Grand Street and Carina Brandes on Wooster Street. Why close? It’s that age-old reason: a big rent increase. The new tenant, a boutique for the American fashion label Buscemi, is paying twice as much as Freire was—Team’s lease asked for $25,000 a month, while the new lease signers will cough up $50,000.
“I don’t know why I got it,” Freire said, punctuating the line with a sly smile, as he often does, perhaps to inflect the opposite. “I guess I wanted to have more critics to SoHo. We had no problem getting collectors in, but critics did not want to go below Houston Street.”
After negotiating with the building’s owner, who lives in Chicago, to secure the five-year lease, there was a pretty gnarly months-long build-out. It had been abandoned for some time, Freire said. But once it opened up, nearly the entire Team roster had shows at the gallery. When asked to name a few memorable shows at Wooster Street, Freire mentioned “Black Cake,” the group show that Alex Gartenfeld curated in 2013, “Stanley Whitney: Left to Right” in 2012, and “Cory Arcangel: tl;dr” in 2014.
The space did have testy neighbors, though. They would call the police if there was ever beer served at openings (if you ever wondered why there were buckets full of cold ones at Grand but never Wooster) and called the fire department upon deciding that Gardar Eide Einarsson’s Sorry If I Got It Wrong, But Something Definitely Isn’t Right, with its enormous pile of tires in the front of the gallery, was a hazard.
“They said we would have to pay a daily fine unless we hired fire guards to stand there 24/7,” Freire said.
This doesn’t mean Team will be limited to a single New York space forever (they also opened a space in Los Angeles in 2014). Freire said that starting early next year he’ll begin the search for another “second space” in earnest, possibly in Harlem, Tribeca, or the Flower District—“definitely not the Lower East Side,” he added.
And he’s giving the space a grand send-off. Longtime Team player Cory Arcangel has the pleasure of capping off 47 Wooster Street, and here’s the plan at the moment: he’s hooking up an Oberheim DMX drum machine to speakers and playing the drum intros to “Blue Monday” and “Sucker MCs” at full blast, 24/7. Let’s see how the neighbors react to that.