In an email announcement today, Susanne Hilberry Gallery, located in Ferndale, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, announced that, after 40 years in business, it will be closing its doors. It said, “We are grateful beyond measure for Susanne’s vision and diligence, and extend our sincere gratitude to the many supporters and collaborators.” The email also thanked the many artists who had worked with the gallery over the years, an art world who’s who of blue-chip artists, under-recognized artists, and emerging artists.
When the gallery’s eponymous founder died in 2015, its director told ARTnews, “We’re still trying to figure out how to make this work, and where we should be. I think it’s always been hard, but it’s gotten harder, definitely.”
Hilberry established her gallery in 1976 in Birmingham, another one of Detroit’s suburbs, on the urging of Sam Wagstaff, the storied curator, photography collector, and lover of Robert Mapplethorpe who was then the curator of contemporary art at the Detroit Institute of Arts, where Hilberry had worked as his assistant. “It seemed as if an enormous amount of really interesting work was being kept out of Detroit,”she recounted in a 2010 interview. “I wanted to show work I really believed in, work that might have been shown in New York, but wasn’t being shown here.” She would go on to become one of the region’s most important art dealers.
The gallery could not be immediately reached for comment.