As the world’s most prominent gallerists move into their retirement years, one of New York’s most celebrated dealers, Paula Cooper, has revealed a succession plan for her gallery. The 83-year-old dealer, who represents top artists like Cecily Brown, Mark di Suvero and Christian Marclay, as well as the estate of Sol LeWitt, has formed a partnership with four directors, including her son, in an attempt to ensure that the storied gallery’s legacy remains in place.
Cooper’s latest move follows the lead of two other New York dealers. Two years ago, Larry Gagosian announced that he’d formed an advisory board for his gallery, and last year Barbara Gladstone took on Gavin Brown as a partner, joining several other directors she has made partners.
Two of Cooper’s partners, Steve Henry and Anthony Allen, have been with her gallery for over 20 years, with Henry playing more of a forward-facing role. Lucas Cooper, Paula Cooper’s son, joined the gallery in 2013, and Alexis Johnson, who worked for Cooper from 2010 to 2016, has returned to Cooper after a stint at the gallery Lévy Gorvy.
According to a representative for the gallery, Paula Cooper will not be stepping back. Instead, she will be working alongside the partners as they plan for the future.
“Lucas, Steve, Anthony, and Alexis understand what has made this gallery possible for fifty years,” Paula Cooper said in a statement. “They not only understand the culture, but also how to evolve in the next chapter.”
Paula Cooper originally opened her gallery in New York’s SoHo neighborhood in 1968, making it one of the first galleries in the area. She became a leading gallery artists involved with the Minimalist and Post-Minimalist art movements, showing work by artists such as Lynda Benglis, Jackie Winsor, and Joel Shapiro early on.
In the mid-’90s, she was one of the first galleries to move in to the Chelsea neighborhood, on Manhattan’s far West Side, where her gallery remains today. Unlike many of New York’s established galleries, she did not open branches around the world, however last November, she opened what will become a year-round outpost in Palm Beach headed up by Henry.