Beloved New York Gallery David Lewis to Close After 11 Years

After 11 years, David Lewis Gallery will cease operations, joining the slew of galleries across Manhattan to shutter its doors this year.

“I entered the gallery world as a wide-eyed academic, and, after over a decade of professional growth, it feels right to come full circle (Francis Picabia loved composing with circles!),” founder David Lewis wrote in an email blast, referencing the gallery’s current group exhibition “Everyone Loves Picabia” (on view through July 19).

He continued, “I’m bringing to a close this iteration of my gallery with a celebration of artists, creative communities, and innovative, even transgressive ideas. It has been the honor of a lifetime to work with such brilliant artists. It’s time now for a new chapter, which will further develop these collaborations and commitments.”

Lewis, an art historian and critic, opened his eponymous gallery in 2013 at 88 Eldridge Street, in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Early programming centered around emerging talent, such as well-reviewed presentations of painter Lucy Dodd and performance artist Dawn Kasper. The gallery eventually expanded its roster with historical and under-studied artists, including Barbara Bloom, a photo-conceptualist from the Pictures Generation, and Mary Beth Edelson, an influential feminist activist and artist whose renown had waned.

In 2018, the gallery began working with the estate of Thornton Dial (1928–2016), a self-taught artist from rural Alabama whose intimate works on the legacy of slavery and sharecropping in America had begun to find success in mainstream art institutions. Speaking to Cultured in 2021, Lewis called Dial “a giant art-historical challenge.” 

In 2018, Lewis staged a solo show of Dial’s works, the same year the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York also hosted a major retrospective of Dial with art donated by the Souls Grown Deep Foundation. In 2023, the gallery’s ten-year anniversary, Lewis staged “Dial / Hammons / Rauschenberg,” proclaiming Dia’s importance to the 20th-century American art canon.

The gallery moved to Tribeca in 2021, which was on the rise as a new gallery neighborhood as several operations relocated their from Chelsea, the Lower East Side, and Midtown. Nowhere in Manhattan, however, appears untouched by the recent commercial upheaval: Just this year, veteran galleries Washburn Gallery and Marlborough Gallery, as well as several younger enterprises—including Foxy Production, Queer Thoughts, and JTT—announced an imminent end to operations.

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