New York design dealer branches out into contemporary art

Albertz Benda, a new 2,000 sq. ft space, to focus on emerging and mid-career artists

The owner of the New York design gallery Friedman Benda is launching a new 2,000 sq. ft contemporary art space, Albertz Benda, in the same Chelsea building in September. Run by partners Marc Benda and Thorsten Albertz, a former director at Friedman Benda, the new venture will focus on emerging and mid-career artists, and the two galleries will share a project space on the ground floor, with alternating exhibition seasons.

The inaugural show at the main Albertz Benda gallery will feature watercolours and archival work by the New York artist Bill Beckley, a one-time fixture in the SoHo art scene of the 1970s. In the project space, the New York artist Agathe Snow will stage a series of performances about illegal immigration, titled Coyote Ugly. Both shows run from 10 September to 3 October.

The owners say the gallery will serve as a “launching pad” for young artists without representation in the city, as a venue for experimental projects by established artists and so that “well-known artists who had been temporarily relegated to the sidelines by the art world’s voracious appetite for new trends could reassert their voices”.

Meanwhile, Benda will continue to run the design gallery with Jennifer Olshin. Friedman Benda will close at the end of the month for renovations when the current exhibition on the American designer Wendell Castle is done. It is due to re-open in the fall with an exhibition of important works by the Italian designer Ettore Sottsass (10 September-17 October).