New Kid on the Block: James Cohan gallery

Another émigré from Chelsea: longtime gallerists Jim and Jane Cohan have landed in a sweet spot at 48 Walker, after 17 years on West 26th Street.

The pair first came to New York from Cleveland in the ‘80s; Jane was studying industrial design and Jim would soon become the director of the Paula Cooper Gallery. Their first show in their own space were Gilbert & George “photopieces” from the late ‘70s — it all took off from there. The gallery represents Robert Smithson, Kathy Butterly, Firelei Báez and a slew of others. In 2015, they opened a second gallery on Grand at Eldridge.

The first show here on Walker was Josiah McElheny, whose work in glass included an installation that functioned as a sound amplifier, well suited for performances of the Sun Ra Arkestra that were held in the space when it opened last month. Next up: the gallery’s 20th anniversary show featuring new works commissioned for the occasion alongside historic works, running through Dec. 20.

The move to Tribeca sounds like it was maybe even a bit overdue. “They started there when there was still a sense of entrepreneurship,” said Sarah Stengel, the gallery’s press liaison. “Now there’s a Lamborghini dealership around the corner.” (We better watch out, or that could happen to us… or has it?)

Tribeca had the classic architecture they wanted for a gallery setting as well as a burgeoning gallery district. Or to put a finer point on it, as Jim Cohan said to ARTNews on the migration from Chelsea: “For me, it’s very simple, in that I feel like I’d rather work for my artists than for my landlord.”

James Cohan
48 Walker (Church and Broadway)
Tuesday – Saturday: 10a to 6p