Carriage Trade, one of the more independently minded galleries to grace the New York art scene in recent years, will open a Lower East Side location later this month, about two years after it shuttered its former home in Tribeca. The new spot is on the second floor of 277 Grand Street, a stone’s throw from Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Miguel Abreu, Invisible-Exports, and other area mainstays.
Since it opened in 2008, Carriage Trade’s programming has run the gamut from group shows looking at cell-phone photographs and the politics of artworks involving the landscape to solo shows by Jef Geys and the mysterious Henry Codax, an artist who does not, strictly speaking, exist. “It’s not a conventional nonprofit in the sense that my interest is in combining the noncommercial mission of a nonprofit with the programming flexibility of a commercial gallery with the exhibition scope of a museum,” Scott said in a phone interview. “The idea came out of the feeling that each model had its own limits, in a way.”
The inaugural show at the new Carriage Trade will be titled “American Interior” and consider “the complexities and rifts in the American psyche via domestic interiors,” Scott said in an email. The exact date of its opening is not yet set. Artists on tap include Richard Artschwager, Dorothea Lange, and Louise Lawler, as well as lesser-known figures like Richard Bosman and Terence Gower. Part of his curatorial mission, he explained, is “about bridging a kind of ‘market gap,’ where established artists are often cloistered in larger gallery and museum settings apart from artists with whom they might share common interests or sensibilities.”
Historical research and a reshuffling of traditional narratives often play a role in Carriage Trade shows. “I like to assert the significance of this or that artist who has maybe gone missing,” Scott said. “I think there’s a lot of repetition and regurgitation and copying that maybe goes unnoticed. Part of emphasizing the historical is basically to confront historical amnesia in a way.”
The name Carriage Trade comes from the 19th-century practice of merchants going up to the carriages of well-to-do customers, a practice that was at one point common near the gallery’s original location in a building at the corner of Mercer and Prince Streets in SoHo.
That original Carriage Trade was above the storied Fanelli’s Cafe. The new Carriage Trade, which measures about 1,800 square feet, is right above the Vietnamese restaurant Pho Grand, Scott noted happily. “The beers are only $2.75.”