Exit Art, the non-profit art space co-founded by Papo Colo and the late Jeanette Ingberman (who passed away in August of last year) in 1982 in Soho and, since 2003, based in a massive ground floor space on Tenth Avenue in Hell's Kitchen, will close after 30 years at the end of May. Its final months will feature an exhibition, performance and gala celebrating the space's crucial role in the city's art community.
In an announcement earlier today, the non-profit announced that in addition to celebratory programming, Exit Art will be publishing two final books: Alternative Histories (from last year's exhibition about alternative art spaces in New York City) and Unfinished Memories: 30 Years of Exit Art. The Exit Art archives will be donated to the Fales Library at NYU.
A final gala, Exit with a Bang! on March 6, will be an especially star-studded edition of Exit Art's typically high-caliber benefit auctions. It will be followed by the gallery's final exhibition and performance program, both running from March 23 through May 25. The exhibition, Every Exit is an Entrance: 30 Years of Exit Art, will explore the gallery's history, drawing heavily on its archives and including a special photo exhibit curated by Papo Colo in remembrance of co-founder Jeanette Ingberman. The parallel performance series, Collective Performance, will feature new commissions from artists, other alternative art spaces, a blog and a curatorial group, created during one-week residencies in which each responds to the performance artists who've exhibited and performed at Exit Art.
And then, though there's no word about it in today's announcement, I hope there will be one final opportunity in late-May to trek over to 36th and Tenth for one of Exit Art's big, raucous receptions, and grieve the loss of one of the city's most essential spaces for contemporary art.
Follow Benjamin Sutton on Twitter @LMagArt