The gallerist Andrea Rosen, who operates two adjacent spaces on West 24th Street in Chelsea, announced at the end of February that she would cease representation of living artists. The news broke in an email that, though widespread, was personal in tone.
“I have come to realise that in order for me to be fearlessly open and responsive to our times and the future, requires mobility, flexibility and the willingness to change, and consequently, I have decided to shift my life, and the focus of the gallery, in a significant way,” Rosen wrote.
The estate of Félix González-Torres, closely identified with the gallery, is now co-represented by Rosen and David Zwirner Gallery. The final exhibitions, of work by Elliott Hundley and Martha Friedman, closed on 11 March, but most of Rosen’s team will stay on until the summer.
Rosen, who opened her gallery in SoHo in 1990, is often credited with launching not only the career of González-Torres—her first show—but also that of Wolfgang Tillmans in the US. In recent years her roster had tilted towards established mid-career artists such as Andrea Zittel, Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch, and David Altmejd.
The artist Matthew Ritchie, represented by Rosen since 1999, says: “It’s obviously a personal and professional loss, as we worked well together and I think she contributed a lot to the art world in general.”
New York’s mid-market galleries— catering neither to clients for whom price is no object nor to those seeking fresh talents—have felt an economic squeeze in recent years, but Rosen brushed away the idea that the closure might be related to financial difficulties. She will be maintaining her smaller gallery space as an office for her ongoing activities with the Félix González-Torres Foundation.
“Félix is such a great model because there’s a way of having things be incredibly meaningful without the complexity of the tangible,” Rosen says.
Zwirner, she adds, was the “obvious choice” to share representation of the artist’s estate. The gallery will open a show of Gonzáles-Torres’s work on 27 April at its West 20th Street space.