New York’s Paula Cooper Gallery has added two dealers to its staff: Jay Gorney, a veteran of the Manhattan art world who has had galleries in the East Village, SoHo, and Chelsea, and Lisa Cooley, a onetime Lower East Side upstart.
“Paula Cooper is a gallery I’ve admired for a long time,” Gorney told me today. “It is an extraordinary gallery with enormous integrity.” Explaining his decision to join Cooper, which shows artists such as Mark di Suvero, Carl Andre, Christian Marclay, and Sophie Calle, he said, “I missed working with artists full time, creating exhibitions, and this was a rare opportunity.”
Since leaving the Chelsea gallery Mitchell-Innes & Nash in 2013, where he was the director of its contemporary art program, Gorney has been organizing shows of work by Deborah Remington, Mathew Cerletty, Ray Johnson, and others, while also advising collectors and serving as an advisor to the estate of Sarah Charlesworth. In March he will present a solo booth of work by Anna Betbeze at Independent in New York and, in May, a solo show with Barbara Bloom at David Lewis Gallery in New York. But he said he is winding down activities of the sort.
Cooley closed her L.E.S. gallery last summer, after eight years in business. “For me, Paula Cooper Gallery represents integrity, long-term vision, and connoisseurship, qualities that I wish were in greater abundance in the emerging art market,” Cooley said in an email. “The gallery, for me, is the antithesis of all the bummer things in the art world of late. I love that the gallery is committed to creating culture, not just selling art.”
Gorney opened his first space, Jay Gorney Modern Art, in 1985 in the East Village, and moved to SoHo in 1987, showing artists like Haim Steinbach, Martha Rosler, Catherine Opie, and Jessica Stockholder. In 1999, he joined with John Lee and Karin Bravin to found Gorney Bravin + Lee, which ran until 2005, when he started at Mitchell-Innes & Nash.
Cooley opened her L.E.S. gallery in 2008 on Orchard Street, which was then the heart of the neighborhood’s gallery district, and moved to a larger venue on Norfolk Street in 2012. She showed Alice Channer, Andy Coolquitt, and Sue Tompkins, among other artists.
Cooley also said she appreciated that Cooper, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, opened as “a truly radical, political gallery.” (Cooper’s first show was a benefit in 1968 for the Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam.) Cooley noted, “We are closed tomorrow so that the entire staff can attend the women’s march.”