David Lewis, formerly of the now-defunct Hell’s Kitchen gallery Balice Hertling & Lewis, is setting up shop on the Lower East Side. As we reported earlier, he will be subletting part of the sprawling duplex at 88 Eldridge Street recently acquired by dealer Miguel Abreu. The Observer caught up with the former art critic to talk about his plans for his first solo gallery.
“There’s very little like it down there,” said Mr. Lewis, who began talking with Mr. Abreu about moving into the Chelsea-size space over a year ago. “It was so exciting and unusual an opportunity that I waited for it.”
Mr. Lewis’s gallery will occupy more than 2,000 square feet of a 7,500-square-foot space on the fifth floor. “The building is large,” said Mr. Lewis. “You enter on Eldridge and my windows are on Allen, so it’s the length of a block. There’s a very long hallway that leads to the gallery, so it’s not just the actual gallery; the experience as a whole is quite unlike any other space because it’s not either a small walkup or a storefront.”
The gallery will open on Oct. 8 with a group show featuring the six young artists Mr. Lewis currently represents —Lucy Dodd, Charles Mayton, Greg Parma Smith, Viola Yesiltac, Israel Lund and Dawn Kasper, who is based in Los Angeles—as well as other artists, like Will Benedict.
Mr. Lewis has been something of a nomad since he parted ways with Paris-based dealers Alexander Hertling and Daniele Balice in January. He staged a well-received exhibition of large paintings by Ms. Dodd at No54, the project space belonging to dealer Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld and Eleanor Cayre, a consultant and curator, in February. In the intervening months, he also curated a show with Ms. Dodd and Ms. Yesiltac in Paris, organized a performance piece with Ms. Kasper at a residence once occupied by French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn (pictured above), and exhibited work by Ms. Yesiltac and Mr. Mayton at the Dallas Art Fair in April.
According to Mr. Lewis, settling on the Lower East Side had more to do with his relationship with Mr. Abreu than the neighborhood itself. “He’s one of the few dealers that I had a close relationship with based on my life before as a critic,” he said. “I’d written about a lot of his artists, I’d spent a lot of time talking to him about the ideas that his artists were working on and the ideas that the gallery was fleshing out.”
Though the two galleries will operate as discrete entities with distinct programs, Mr. Lewis suggested there may be some neighborly collaboration.
“If the time and situation were right,” he said, “it’d be wonderful to do some kind of building-wide experiment.”