David Zwirner gallery taking over the M1-5 club space

It’s safe to say this must be very happy news for a certain section of Walker Street, but also a pretty exciting moment for the Tribeca Gallery District.

Mega art dealer David Zwirner, whose galleries are in Chelsea (and 69th Street) but also all over the world, has secured 52 Walker, the former home of the M1-5 club that tortured neighbors for years, for a new gallery, according to Artnet’s news blog, Wet Paint. If the folks there got it right, the space will be run by gallerist and now Zwirner director Ebony Hayes with an all-Black staff. That announcement was made in September, but back then a space was not identified.

The gallery will have three or four exhibitions a year accompanied by a publication, Zwirner announced at the time. “The program will be reflective of Haynes’s curatorial practice and will host critically engaging content, including satellite programming of panel discussions and relevant online content.” Haynes was previously a director for Martos Gallery and Shoot the Lobster. The main goal is to create a curatorial staff that is Black.

“While you could argue that strides have been made on the artist side, the art world acts almost shamefully on the employment side,” Zwirner told The New York Times in September. “Something has to happen.”

Last we heard of M1-5 they were applying with the State Liquor Authority for a “corporate change” for the company that operated the club. Not sure what happened with that but either way, this is great news from here on in for neighbors, and quite exciting for the Tribeca Gallery District.

Not that I am qualified to comment on the art world, but Zwirner is more of a museum head than a gallerist — he represents artists whose work is just as often at the Whitney than on far West 19th Street. I’m thinking our own Richard Serra, Diane Arbus, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin and my #1 fave, Gordon Matta Clark.

Zwirner, whose father was also an art dealer, opened his own gallery in Soho 28 years ago, at 43 Greene, and, well, he’s come a long way. In 2002, the gallery moved from Soho to 525 W.19th St., and a few years later expanded on the block. In 2012, he opened a gallery in London, and in 2013, razed a space on West 20th and built a five-story concrete gallery there. This from his 25th anniversary:

“Twenty-five years ago, the gallery opened in a relatively small space at 43 Greene Street in SoHo in New York, with the intention to show challenging art without compromise. It’s been an extraordinary quarter of a century, with over 300 exhibitions behind us—from Greene Street to Chelsea in New York, then onwards to London, the Upper East Side, Hong Kong, and soon another Chelsea expansion—and an incredible roster of artists, outstanding staff, and community of collectors, curators, and supporters.”



  1. Fantastic news.

  2. Great addition to the neighborhood. world-class gallery will be a great anchor for this area!

    Any idea if the vacant building on the southwest corner of broadway and canal has any new plans? i think was originally going to be an italian food market?

    • The Italian food market was a red herring. Not sure what is cooking now, but I can ask around…

    • I’m wondering that every time I walk by there also. It’s a real shame that the beautiful building is unused and repeatedly targeted with vandalism. Now it’s just an empty eyesore.

      Maybe the asking rent is too high, plus the general seediness of that intersection (e.g. the counterfeit hawkers) may scare away any possible tenants.

      A dream scenario: some kind of cultural use which optimizes the beauty of the building, like a museum or museum “annex” or performing arts space. But even the Duane Reade was better than the current vacancy (and it was convenient having a Duane Reade nearby).