New Kid on the Block: Ortuzar Projects

A former partner at the David Zwirner gallery, Ales Ortuzar went out on his own three years ago as a private art dealer, with a by-appointment showroom on the Upper East Side. Now he has taken the next logical step, opening a gallery, Ortuzar Projects, on White Street.

Before landing on Tribeca, he considered the traditional gallery districts of uptown, Chelsea, and the Lower East Side. “You’re almost expected to show a certain kind of art there,” he says. “Tribeca is a blank canvas, but with a strong tradition of art and artists.” The architectural details of the 3,000-square-foot space—most recently the 11 Beach sales office and before that, an artist’s studio—have been preserved, including the tin ceiling, brick walls (hidden behind a white box), and cast-iron columns, which have been stripped bare.

Reasoning that a gallery must “prove it wants to exist,” Ortuzar has committed to just two years, with four shows a year. The focus is on art from the 20th and 21st centuries, particularly work that hasn’t been seen in New York City in a while. Take the first exhibition, Paintings & Works on Paper by the late French artist Michel Parmentier: “He has never had a New York exhibition,” says Ortuzar. “He has had retrospectives in other countries, of course, but never a significant survey here.” The works are supplemented by two vitrines of artifacts and other historical matter, and parts of the show will next travel to the Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University. Later this year, Ortuzar Projects will showcase a surrealist who painted in the 1920s and ’30s and the early work of a living artist.

The Parmentier show is up now, and there’s a grand opening event March 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. You can also stop by the evening of March 14 for Tribeca Art+Culture Night.

Ortuzar Projects is at 9 White (between Sixth Ave. and W. Broadway); 212-257-0033; ortuzarprojects.com.

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