A mainstay of Midtown for nearly half a century, the Marian Goodman Gallery has been reluctant to leave its rental on 57th Street in the heart of Manhattan. But the growing shadow of supertall skyscrapers and luxury offices has prompted the dealer to finally uproot.
After a decade scouting larger locations in more culturally relevant neighborhoods, the gallery said Thursday that it would relocate to a historic building in TriBeCa, bringing its legacy brand — artists including Julie Mehretu, William Kentridge and Nan Goldin — to a neighborhood that has become increasingly popular with the art world.
“We are really thrilled,” said Philipp Kaiser, the gallery’s president. “We always had limitations in the old space because it was an upper floor and you would have to rig everything” to get it upstairs, he said, “which made it difficult to show large sculptures.”
The new location at 385 Broadway, a 30,000-square-foot rental, is almost twice as big as the current headquarters at 24 West 57th Street (where the lease ends in June 2024). The TriBeCa gallery will include a basement and five floors, two of which will host exhibition spaces. A renovation by the design firm studioMDA, estimated at several million dollars, will include viewing rooms, a library and archive, art storage and administrative offices. It is expected to open in the second half of 2024.
Over the last few years, an increasing number of galleries have chosen to open in TriBeCa, bypassing SoHo and Chelsea. The new Marian Goodman Gallery will be on the same block as outposts of David Zwirner and Pace Gallery, as well as younger dealerships like Deli Gallery and Bortolami. Only a few steps south, Jack Shainman Gallery is developing a new location in the landmark Clock Tower Building.
Now 94, the gallerist Marian Goodman announced in 2021 that she was stepping back from daily operations and installing a new management structure between five partners, with Kaiser leading the group. His tenure has involved expanding the gallery’s footprint and adding new artists to its roster. The gallery plans to open a Los Angeles location in June and recently started representing the conceptual artist Andrea Fraser, who had previously refused to sell her work.
“I’ve looked to Marian Goodman Gallery for decades as one of the chief guardians of time-based and conceptual art,” Fraser said in a statement at the time. “It will be an honor to show alongside so many of my artistic heroes.”
However, the sudden departure of one of the gallery’s biggest stars has shaken the company. In December, the German artist Gerhard Richter, then 90 years old, announced that he was ending his 40-year relationship with Goodman and would be represented exclusively by David Zwirner. The painter’s decision became the subject of art world speculation.
“What precipitated such a seemingly abrupt break between Richter and Goodman, two nonagenarians who used to be friends?” asked Katya Kazakina, a senior reporter at Artnet. “Was this a betrayal of Shakespearean proportions, or just time marching on?”
Kaiser, in an interview with The New York Times, allowed, “Were we thrilled? No. But this is not the end of the world.”
Kaiser described losing Richter — lauded for his bold experiments in abstract painting — as more of a “symbolic loss.” He said he thinks that Richter is now more focused on estate planning, and that David Zwirner wanted to claim the painter’s frothy secondary market, which generated $225 million at auction last year, according to the Artnet Price Database.
“We would have loved to be part of his last chapter,” Kaiser added, saying Marian Goodman Gallery helped the artist gain respect internationally in the 1980s. “He owes Marian a lot and she owes Richter a lot.”
Kaiser sees the TriBeCa location as a new beginning, which involves bringing in talent like Fraser. The gallery now represents about 45 artists and has about 55 employees around the world. Kaiser is also keen to develop more programming with artists outside his roster, exemplified, he said, by a recent Louise Lawler exhibition in Paris.
“You don’t always have to marry everybody you go to dinner with,” Kaiser said. “We need to keep our integrity as one of the last program galleries and expand toward the future.”