The art world was infinitely bummed to find out LES’s DODGEgallery will be closing its doors next month, on its fourth anniversary. Founder Kristen Dodge made the announcement via e-mail on March 10th, expressing her gratitude to the gallery’s roster of artists, staff and supporters.
With its inviting, multi-level space on Rivington, DODGE had truly solidified its presence in the New York art scene, representing artists such as Cordy Ryman, Dave Cole and Jason Middlebrook.
Dodge, a sharply dressed, magnetic character with a really, really cool haircut, has watched the gallery scene in the Lower East Side develop in recent years. “The most exciting gallery nexus in LES are those that have built their programs over the last six years and are now expanding to larger spaces in close proximity to one another,” she says, also noting the vast increase in pop-ups during her four years in the neighborhood.
There is no denying the increase in galleries and the subsequent increase in rent, but Dodge questions whether there’s enough downtown art enthusiasts to support the influx. “I am not seeing growth in meaningful foot traffic,” Dodge says. “There are more businesses, but is there, in fact, more business?” Yes, her space has flourished, however she attributes its success to her participation in art fairs and other international events (her haircut probably doesn’t hurt either).
In an interview with New America Paintings, Dodge revealed that there was no one reason that the gallery is shutting its doors, simply citing “personal and professional realizations.” We expect (and hope) that this is not the last we’ve seen of Dodge. And you can get a last look at the space in action: the current shows, a solo exhibit by Taylor Davis and a group show organized by Davis and Nancy Shaver are on view until April 13.
Meanwhile, Strange Loop Gallery, which is known for its inventive programming showcasing unknown and emerging artists (chainsaw sex, anyone?), hosted its last event today (on founder Claire Fleury’s birthday). Fleury told us that she and cofounder Alesia Exum are simply ready to move on from their current space on Orchard. The girls are looking forward to focusing on their own work – Fleury is a clothing designer and Exum a photographer – and continuing to host artist events and performances. “It has been a durational performance that lasted two and a half years,” says Fleury. “We don’t want to be like one of those longest running shows on Broadway!”