An expansion project at Hollis Taggart will nearly double the size of the Chelsea gallery’s first floor exhibition space, a move the dealer describes as “a vote of confidence” in the New York neighbourhood even as more galleries migrate downtown to Tribeca.
The space is scheduled to open to the public 7 September—coinciding with Armory Week in New York—and will largely be used to display work from the gallery’s historic division, Taggart says, and allow the gallery to run two shows at once or larger, more ambitious exhibitions. The project adds 698 sq. ft to an existing 887 sq. ft of exhibition space, according to the gallery.
The inaugural display will feature work by artists including Ralph Iwamoto, the late 20th-century Japanese American Surrealist painter who was largely overlooked during his life (Hollis Taggart began representing the artist’s estate in February), Dusti Bongé, Sheila Isham, Irene Monat Stern and Michael (Corinne Michelle) West. The initial hang will also include a presentation of six drawings by Jackson Pollock dating from the early 1950s. According to the gallery, the sketches are from a notepad that sat beside the telephone at the Long Island home Pollock shared with his wife and fellow artist Lee Krasner.
Taggart, who has occupied space at 521 West 26th Street for nine years since relocating from the Upper East Side in 2015, says he’d always “fantasised” about expanding into other sections of the Chelsea building near the High Line. The space next-door—previously home to the Loretta Howard Gallery—had been leased out by a series of tenants over the years. When it became available most recently, Taggart says he approached the landlord and worked out a deal to open up the space into his gallery.
The first floor expansion follows an earlier extension last October, when the gallery took over space on the second floor of the building at 521 West 26th Street. Taggart says that despite the rush of galleries decamping to Tribeca for larger spaces and lower rents, he preferred to invest in the gallery’s presence in Chelsea.
“It is a vote of confidence for the Chelsea gallery district. I'm confident that Chelsea is here to stay,” Taggart says, adding that the gallery’s mega-dealer neighbours like David Zwirner, Pace and Gagosian all own their Chelsea properties and are likely “planted for the long-term”.
Amid concerns that the art market is slowing down after tepid spring and summer sales in New York and London, Taggart says he’s comfortable expanding when his colleagues may be doing the opposite and trying to cut expenditures in case of a market correction.
“I've always been a contrarian,” Taggart says. “It's kind of going against the concerns in the art market right now for me to actually be expanding, but I think that's just the time to do it.”