Time’s Up for the Clocktower Gallery

This is not a surprise, but it’s disappointing just the same: The Clocktower Gallery is leaving its perch atop 346 Broadway, the city building that has been sold to the Peebles Corporation, which plans to turn it into a condo, perhaps with hotel. That’s the same building that the criminal summons court is leaving, possibly for W. Broadway and Thomas, and the city’s Department of Probation, possibly bound for 66 John.

Founded by Alanna Heiss—who had also founded P.S. 1—the Clocktower Gallery has been at 346 Broadway since 1972. The art has generally been a bit avant-garde for me—James Franco’s penis-face notwithstanding—but I loved the space; there are few places around here where you feel like you’re going off the grid. To get to the Clocktower Gallery, you enter at 108 Leonard and endure the security gauntlet (ID is required). The building is in about as good condition as you’d expect. (Take a photo tour.) You ride the elevator as high as it will go (the 12th floor), then you look for a gallery sign pointing to a stairwell up to the 13th floor. Then you wander around; I’ve never seen anyone else there, enhancing the otherworldly vibe. And I’ve always gotten a kick out of Mary Heilmann’s “Two Lane Blacktop” painted in the hallway.

You really should go! The gallery is only open Tuesday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m. The final show, opening tomorrow (RSVP) and up through Nov. 29, is of work by the late Dale Henry; the Wall Street Journal has an article about how it came to be.

As for the gallery’s future, “The Clocktower Gallery and its radio station are about to be renewed, re-imagined, re-constituted, and relocated with projects in every borough, hamlet, and port across the city,” said an email the gallery sent out.

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1 Comment

  1. This is so sad. Another big part of our neighborhood gone. I have been going to The Clocktower gallery for years. It is a mysterious and wonderful place. And I am used to the clocktower bells sounding off the hours at night, which can be heard in the far distance when the city quiets down. It’s so much shredded sameness now.