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  • Writer's pictureFrancisca Theo

New York's Art Scene Faces Unprecedented Gallery Closures

New York’s art scene is reeling from multiple high-profile gallery closures. Simone Subal Gallery will shutter later this month, joining the likes of David Lewis Gallery in ceasing operations. These closures add to the growing list of Manhattan galleries shutting their doors, following the exit of at least six Manhattan galleries last year. In Tribeca, Denny Gallery, JTT Gallery, and Queer Thoughts—all spaces that operated for at least a decade or more—closed within the second half of 2023. With iconic spaces like Cheim & Read also shutting down after 26 years in operation, the art world is left wondering: why?

photograph by Abbie Bernet
photograph by Abbie Bernet

The reasons are manifold. The migration of the art market to online platforms, while offering new opportunities for smaller, emerging galleries, has presented significant challenges for established galleries reliant on traditional in-person auctions and exhibitions. The new landscape no longer necessitates a physical gallery space in a major city to operate successfully. Running a gallery has always been a high-cost endeavor and the economic blows dealt by the pandemic have only exacerbated this

Photograph by Juliette Contin
Photograph by Juliette Contin

For artists, losing a gallery can be tough but not catastrophic—they often find new dealers or go solo. For collectors, it’s a different story. Losing insider access and first dibs on new works disrupts their art-buying game, making the closure of a favored gallery a significant blow.


While this issue seems to be more pronounced in New York, other regions, such as the Asian market, have not been hit as hard. Spotting a gallery in financial distress is also possible. Red flags include massive discounts or sudden staff cuts, and legal filings like tax liens or bankruptcy notices often tell a troubling story.


Is there a wider crisis at play? Possibly. The art market is inherently volatile, and some galleries that struggled following the 2008 financial crisis have never fully recovered.

Bottom line: collectors and artists alike must stay vigilant, recognize the signs of trouble, and take proactive steps to protect their interests in an ever-changing art world.


Photograph by Enric Domas
Photograph by Enric Domas

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