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Park Place Gallery

Park Place Gallery was a contemporary art gallery located in SoHo in Lower Manhattan, New York City, USA, during the mid-to-late 1960s. Park Place Gallery was located at 542 West Broadway, on what is now LaGuardia Place just north of Houston Street in the neighborhood that is now called "SoHo". It is thought of as being the first gallery of the 1960s in that area of Lower Manhattan.

Originally opened as a cooperative gallery in 1963 near Park Place in Lower Manhattan, in 1965 it moved to a new and larger location at 542 West Broadway.[1] The gallery was a large open exhibition space with an office and second showing space in the back. In general there were two-person exhibitions each featuring a painter and a sculptor in the larger front room, and a small selection of artists work in the back room.[2] The first director of Park Place Gallery was John Gibson who later opened his own gallery in the early 1970s. He was succeeded by Paula Cooper who after Park Place Gallery closed in the late 1960s opened the Paula Cooper Gallery in SoHo.[3] She became a pioneer of the contemporary art scene and a forerunner of the population explosion of art galleries in New York City during the 1970s.[4]


  • The gallery 1
  • The scene 2
  • The avant-garde 3
  • 2008 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Selected sources 7
  • External links 8

The gallery

The gallery showcased works by younger, less established artists with an emphasis on Geometric abstraction, shaped canvas, Hard-edge painting, Op Art, paradoxical geometric objects, sculpture, and experimental art. Many of the sculptors, painters and other artists who exhibited in Park Place Gallery were interested in cutting edge architecture, electronic music, and minimal art. The gallery also exhibited the works of lesser known young and older artists, often for the first time. Some of the artists that were exhibited at the Park Place Gallery included Mark di Suvero, Leo Valledor, Peter Forakis [1] (who lived in Petaluma, CA), Dean Fleming, Anthony Magar, Forrest (Frosty) Myers, Ed Ruda, Robert Grosvenor, Tamara Melcher, David Novros, Gay Glading, Jon Baldwin,[5] and several others. Some of the artists that were invited to show, or play concerts or read poetry at the gallery included Ronald Bladen, Sol LeWitt, Eva Hesse, Al Held, Sylvia Stone, Robert Smithson, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Brice Marden, Charles Ginnever, Charles Ross, Robert Morris (artist), Kenneth Snelson, Robert Swain, Carlos Villa, Mario Yrissary, Peter Reginato, Ronnie Landfield, Carl Andre, Jake Berthot, David R. Prentice, Mac Wells, Bob Neuwirth, Joan Jonas, and dozens of young and unknown painters, sculptors, conceptual artists, performance artists and composers among others.[6]

The scene

In the early 1960s, artists from all over the country flooded into Lower Manhattan. Populating lofts and warehouse buildings – many of which had been abandoned in what used to be known as "Hells Hundred Acres." Along lower Broadway and the many side streets, serious artists from all over the country began to live in large and inexpensive loft studios. The proximity of artists studio's began to entice art dealers and gallery owners to open new gallery spaces nearby to where the artists were living and where their studio's were. By 1966, SoHo began to become a growing artist community. Park Place Gallery became a mecca and meeting ground for artists young and old. Especially crowded and popular were the special music performances and other special programs hosted by the gallery. The openings and accompanied artist parties were always crowded affairs. During the mid-to-late 1960s and the early 1970s Max's Kansas City on Park Avenue South between 17th and 18th Streets and the St. Adrian's bar on lower Broadway became the favorite hangouts for most of the young artists, writers, poets, and creative people on the scene in downtown Manhattan.

The avant-garde

In the late 1960s and early 1970s art shattered into many directions: Conceptual Art, Earth Art, Lyrical Abstraction, Minimal Art, Postminimalism, Performance art, and the continuation of Abstract expressionism, Color field painting, Op Art and Pop Art. A significant development in the New York art world was the birth of the gallery scene in SoHo. It signaled the enormous financial growth of the art world. Suddenly there were waves of new galleries and collectors. The appetite for the acquisition of the new was voracious. For a short time the artist's life was no longer based on the idea of suffering and struggle. The baby boom generation ushered in a new phenomenon of instant success, driven by the expanding demand for art in the galleries.[7]

In New York City during the 1950s, the avant-garde was a blend of hot and cool art. The Tenth Street cooperative galleries were formed mostly by young artists of both types seeking a place to show their work. The cooperative galleries served as an alternative to the conservative 57th Street and uptown Madison Avenue galleries that dominated the art scene.[8]

During the early-to-mid-1960s this group of young artists that formed the Park Place Gallery revolutionized what was possible for young artists. By pioneering SoHo, the Park Place Gallery showed many important young artists often for the first time, who went on to become famous and successful. The original members: Mark di Suvero, Frosty Myers, Robert Grosvenor, Ed Ruda, Dean Fleming, Leo Valledor, Peter Forakis, Tamara Melcher, Tony Magar and later David Novros, John Baldwin and Gay Glading were all cutting edge young artists. Attracting funding from the Lannan Foundation and private collectors and with John Gibson and later Paula Cooper as directors, Park Place became a lightning rod of attention for the downtown art scene. With experimental ideas and invitational exhibitions, Park Place Gallery served as a forum for both hot and cool art. It became a center for the downtown avant-garde as well, with weekly poetry readings, concerts by new electronic composers, and openings that always drew large crowds of young artists.[9]


In September 2008 the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin presented an exhibition entitled: Reimagining Space: The Park Place Gallery Group in 1960s New York curated by Linda Dalrymple Henderson. The exhibition ran from September 28, 2008 – January 18, 2009.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Linda Dalrymple Henderson, Dean Fleming, Ed Ruda, and the Park Place Gallery: Spatial Complexity and the "Fourth Dimension" in 1960s New York, p.379.
  2. ^ Linda Dalrymple Henderson, Dean Fleming, Ed Ruda, and the Park Place Gallery: Spatial Complexity and the "Fourth Dimension" in 1960s New Yorkn.5 p. 388.
  3. ^ Linda Dalrymple Henderson, Dean Fleming, Ed Ruda, and the Park Place Gallery: Spatial Complexity and the "Fourth Dimension" in 1960s New York, n.5 p.388.
  4. ^ accessed online July 24, 2007
  5. ^ Lyrical Abstraction
  6. ^ Lyrical Abstraction
  7. ^ Lyrical Abstraction
  8. ^ Lyrical Abstraction
  9. ^ Lyrical Abstraction
  10. ^ Blanton Museum, retrieved September1, 2008

Selected sources

  • Blanton Museum of Art: American Art Since 1900 / editors, Annette DiMeo Carlozzi and Kelly Baum, published by the University of Texas at Austin, 2006, catalog of the collection ISBN 0-9771453-1-X.
  • Blanton Museum catalog of the collection: (above) Linda Dalrymple Henderson, Dean Fleming, Ed Ruda, and the Park Place Gallery: Spatial Complexity and the "Fourth Dimension" in 1960s New York pp. 379–389.
  • Lyrical Abstraction, online essay by Ronnie Landfield, [2]

External links

  • Leo Valledor estate
  • Robert Smithson comments
  • Ronnie Landfield comments
  • Archives of American Art Accessed online July 24, 2007
  • NYTimes obituary of Peter Forakis
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