Bill Brady, a dealer with galleries in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York, died on Sunday after suffering cardiac arrest following an asthma attack. He was 55.
William Leung, a dealer who cofounded New York’s ATM Gallery with Brady in 2020, confirmed Brady’s passing.
“Sudden passing is never easy. He was a very good friend and an amazing human being, he had a long career of championing young emerging artists, which I intend to keep going,” Leung said in an email to ARTnews. “He taught me a lot and was one of the first dealers I met in the art world. I was scared to open a gallery, but he really let me run it with my own touch and supported me fully on everything I decided.
Leung continued, “Since we opened the space, I have been pushing forward to make it the space everyone can be proud to show at and collectors come to buy from. He was a big statue of a person, both physically and spiritually. His presence will be dearly missed by those that knew him and have met him.”
When he and Leung launched their gallery three years ago, it was actually the second space under that name that Brady had run. Back in 2001, Brady had opened ATM Gallery in the East Village, on Avenue B. Its name was borrowed from the operational ATM that Brady had installed before the gallery in an attempt to help defray rent costs.
ATM Gallery built up a cult reputation among artists and other members of the New York scene. Tomoo Gokita, a Japanese painter who’s now well-known for his black-and-white images of people with blurred faces, had his first New York solo shows with ATM. Huma Bhabha had her first US solo show at ATM in 2004; she went on to do the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rooftop commission in 2018 and to have a mid-career survey at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston the following year.
Brady made himself known for nurturing artists who had not yet staked a claim for themselves in New York. Christine Sun Kim once recalled, “One day, I went to ATM Gallery in the East Village and chatted with Bill Brady, the owner. He eventually helped me get into the School of Visual Arts by writing a letter of recommendation for me.”
Prior to launching ATM, Brady, who was born in Kansas City, attended the Kansas City Art Institute, where he focused on painting and printmaking. He then went to the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, and in 1993, he came to New York, studying at the School of Visual Arts, where he received a master’s degree. He would go on to manage the JPMorgan Chase Manhattan Art Collection before becoming a dealer.
“Bill Brady was a gallerist for over 25 years, and during that time, he made a profound impact on the art world with his ability to bring new artists to the forefront of the art scene,” Bill Brady Gallery said in a statement. “He believed in young talent and devoted much of his career to identifying and nurturing that talent. Whether he was working with emerging artists or established masters, Bill had a knack for identifying work that was fresh, exciting, and thought-provoking. His support and guidance helped many of them to achieve great success.”
ATM later moved to Chelsea, where, for a period, it shared a space with Freight + Volume gallery.
In 2012, Brady opened an eponymous gallery in Kansas City; that enterprise currently operates locations in Miami and Los Angeles. Of the decision to open in Florida, he once told Cultured, “Miami is somewhere between New York and Kansas City. It’s very international, has people coming and going, but you can sit in your backyard and do a whole lotta’ nothin’.”
Korakrit Arunanondchai, John Houck, Lucien Smith, and Wendy Park had some of their first solo shows through Bill Brady Gallery. Bhabha, Gokita, Eddie Martinez, Javier Calleja, and Dan McCarthy also showed there.
“The art world can be a special place and community and Bill was an important part of creating that,” Michael Kagan, an artist who showed at Bill Brady Gallery, wrote on Instagram. “He loved art, artists, and learning their process . His energy was contagious. His eye for talent and his reputation for discovering young painters and helping them launch their careers is legendary.”
Update, May 1, 2023: This article was updated after publication to include a statement from Bill Brady Gallery.