The resurgence in the SoHo art world continues this week, with news that dealer Peter Freeman will move to a street-level, two-floor, 11,000-square-foot gallery at 140 Grand Street, between Crosby and Lafayette Streets. (Hat tip to the Baer Faxt which reported the news first.) The new Peter Freeman, Inc. opens on Feb. 23 with a show of new work by Thomas Schütte, who is joining the New York gallery, after exhibiting at Mr. Freeman’s Paris gallery, Galerie Nelson Freeman. (Mr. Schütte has previously worked with Marian Goodman in New York.)
Also joining Mr. Freeman’s New York gallery are Pedro Cabrita Reis, another artist who has shown with Nelson Freeman in Paris, and painter Catherine Murphy, who had shown at Knoedler, the 165-year-old gallery that shuttered its doors last year. They join artists like Mel Bochner, Franz Erhard Walther and Silvia Bächli on Mr. Freeman’s roster.
“I couldn’t show new sculpture by Thomas Schütte in the current space,” Mr. Freeman told Gallerist by phone, when asked about the reason for the move. “I want to make a new space that can have a sense of intimacy, but with a larger amount of square feet we have now. We can now show larger works that we can’t show here.”
Mr. Freeman had been looking for a new gallery for a few years throughout the city, including gallery-dense Chelsea. But, he said, “I was particularly happy to find the perfect space in SoHo.” Chelsea, he offered, “is more efficient,” but SoHo has “a special art history and a sense of community.”
The gallery’s new home is a cast-iron building that was originally built as a department store and sports Corinthian columns, sky lights and soaring 18-foot-tall ceilings. “It’s not that we need all 18 feet, but it has a visual generosity,” Mr. Freeman said. “A lot of the original sense of it has been preserved. It’s a classic SoHo space.”
The move comes just as other galleries have expanded in the area. Team Gallery’s José Freire, who has long operated on Grand Street, opened a second branch on Wooster Street last year, and both Deitch Projects spaces, empty since the dealer flew the coop to lead the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, have found permanent art tenants: the Swiss Institute on Wooster and Suzanne Geiss Company on Grand.
Mr. Freeman’s gallery had previously worked out of a 6th-floor loft space in SoHo, which, he said, worked well for many of his historical shows, like a 2004 exhibition of Richard Serra’s early sculptures. “That looked perfect here,” he said. “That was the same kind of space that he made the work in.”
With the larger space—there will be three separate galleries, meaning that Mr. Freeman could hold more than one simultaneous show—will there be more artists joining the roster? “I think we’ll grow a little bit,” Mr. Freeman said. “It’s never going to be a roster of 40 or 50 artists,” he laughed. “We’ve always wanted to be able to have the time to do for the artist everything we can.”
The gallerist continued: “I’ve been doing this since 1990, and I’ve been public since 2000. This is a really new chapter for the gallery. It’s a big change, but it should allow us to do more of what we do well.”