The Curtain to Fall at Metro Pictures After 40 Years
Exhibition view: Cindy Sherman, Metro Pictures, New York (26 September–31 October 2020). Courtesy Metro Pictures, New York.
After 40 years representing acclaimed visual artists, Metro Pictures has this week announced it will permanently close its doors in 2021. Co-founder Janelle Reiring, stressed the decision to close was 'a very personal one', noting that while Covid-19 did not impact on this decision, it did afford time to reflect.
With the closure comes the end of a prolific 40-year run as a gallery that nurtured the careers of giants in film and photo-based art. Established by Winer, formerly director of Artist Space, New York, and Janelle Reiring, formerly of Leo Castelli Gallery, Metro Pictures first opened in SoHo, New York in 1980. Quickly becoming a hub for the loose group of artists that became known as the Pictures Generation, the gallery hosted early exhibitions by artists such as Louise Lawler, Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo, Jack Goldstein, Richard Prince and Sherrie Levine.
From 1982, ushering proponents of Californian conceptual art onto the New York stage, Metro Pictures held the first New York exhibition of Mike Kelley, followed by shows with fellow influential CalArts graduates John Miller, Jim Shaw and Gary Simmons. Also launching the American careers of several European artists, in 1983 Metro Pictures held the inaugural U.S. exhibitions of Martin Kippenberger and René Daniëls.
Metro Pictures continued to work with artists including Lawler, Longo, Daniëls and most prolifically Cindy Sherman. Since moving to Chelsea in 1997 the gallery has also engaged with a younger generation of artists, including Sara VanDerBeek and Trevor Paglen. Allowing time for artists and staff to prepare for the closure, the gallery will close towards the end of the year.
Helene Winer and Janelle Reiring conveyed in a joint statement, 'we are extremely grateful to all of the brilliant artists we have worked with over the past 40 years and to our excellent staff, who have sustained the gallery and its programme. We would also like to thank all of the critics, curators, collectors and fellow dealers with whom we have worked over the years.'
The pair will continue to work with the gallery during the wind down, with Reiring noting that the future is exciting for the art world, and both herself and Winer will remain involved in contemporary art for the foreseeable future.
Asked what they hope the legacy of Metro pictures will be, Reiring told Ocula Magazine 'I hope it is a gallery defined by its artists and their exhibitions and careers.' —[O]