"Just to Grow for the Sake of Growth is Irrelevant": Gallerist Andrea Rosen on Her New Project Space

"Just to Grow for the Sake of Growth is Irrelevant": Gallerist Andrea Rosen on Her New Project Space
Andrea Rosen
(Billy Farrell Agency)

NEW YORK — The dealer New York Magazine has called "the tough, platinum princess of the Chelsea gallery scene" is taking up a larger footprint in the neighborhood. Andrea Rosen Gallery is expanding to a new space at 544 W 24th Street, located down the road from her current space at 525 W 24th.  The 1,350-square-foot venue, which is currently home to the former furniture showroom Sebastian + Barquet, will function as a kind of "think tank" for the gallery — a site to exhibit artists who may not be represented by Rosen as well as bodies of work that don't necessarily lend themselves to a commercial art exhibition. 

Rosen, who recently made headlines by scooping up red-hot video artist Ryan Trecartin and his collaborator Lizzie Fitch, told Art in America, which first reported the news, that she will open the new gallery in September with an as-yet-unnamed artist. ("It will be the artist's first solo show in New York," she promised coyly.) Rosen has also added Josephene Meckseper and Mika Rottenberg (who is co-represented by Nicole Klagsburn Gallery) to her stable in recent months.

But the dealer didn't decide to add the second space in order to accommodate her growing stable, she said.  "It's about creating an opportunity for poeple to think more deeply about new work — not just to be able to display more work," Rosen told ARTINFO in an interview. "And 'new' is not always in the form of just young — new might also be new perceptions of what we already think we know about an artist or a period." 

The new space will take the name of the gallery's current project space, Gallery 2, which has functioned somewhat independently from Rosen's core program in a cordoned-off room at the back of Rosen's main gallery since 1999. The dealer plans to use Gallery 2 as she did its forebear — as a laboratory to explore art with shows that place less emphasis on commercial appeal or success. Since its inception in 1999, the original Gallery 2 has hosted exhibitions of lesser-known, uncharacteristic work by artists such as Robert Mangold and John Chamberlain. Once the second venue opens in September, the original Gallery 2 will become an extension of the main gallery.   

Though the programming is a collaboration among gallery staffers, Rosen says a large number of the shows in Gallery 2 are, and will remain, her own pet projects. "It's really my own personal passion," she said. "It's important for me to have an exhibition space that allows me to research an idea more deeply, or live with a young artist for the first time. so that I'm always expanding my own way of thinking." (This isn't to say she'll always be working alone; in the past, Rosen has worked on Gallery 2 shows with art historians as well as her own artists, who curated a series of exhibitions in the space in 2010.) Rosen plans to use the spaces somewhat flexibly, sometimes allowing one show to flow from one space over into the next.

Though many recent Chelsea expansions — Pace Gallery and Hauser & Wirth among them — are showy productions that take up a large amount of square footage, Rosen plans to keep Gallery 2 petite. "Just to grow for the sake of growth is irrelevant," she said. "But if I can grow in strength and meaning, that's fantastic."