Artists News USA

An alternative room of one’s own

Matthew Day Jackson is the latest big-name artist to bankroll his own gallery

Jackson is financing Bunker259

Matthew Day Jackson plans to open a 200 sq. ft non-profit space in New York this month. Bunker259 is the latest in a series of alternative spaces founded by big-name artists over the past year. Others include Family Business, the 126 sq. ft gallery opened in Chelsea by the artist Maurizio Cattelan and the curator Massimiliano Gioni, and Home Alone Gallery, a storefront window in Tribeca set up by the artists Nate Lowman, Leo Fitzpatrick and Hanna Liden.

These new ventures would not be possible without their founders’ financial success. This contrasts with previous generations of artists who opened alternative spaces partly to create a platform for their own work, since it was less valued by the mainstream market, says Robert Storr, the dean of Yale University’s School of Art. “All those spaces were in tune with their moment, but of course, this is a very different moment,” he says.

Bunker259 will be entirely financed by Jackson. The 39-year-old artist has experienced considerable commercial and critical success in recent years, with record prices at auction (his drawing on panel Bucky, 2007, sold for $942,519 at Christie’s in 2010) and major exhibitions at institutions including the Gemeentemuseum in the Netherlands and the Palazzo Grassi in Venice. He has been represented by Hauser & Wirth since 2010.

“If anything, the marketplace made [the gallery] possible,” Jackson says. “It has never been easier” for some artists to live comfortably, he says. “There are a lot of other artists out there who are successful. Maybe this will encourage them to do something interesting.”

Jackson is due to open the space with his wife, Laura Seymour, on the ground floor of their home (and Jackson’s studio) in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, on 8 September. Each exhibition will pair one work with one piece of writing. The couple hope that the space will offer jaded art professionals an opportunity to “slow down and really look” at art. “When we go to Chelsea and see art, how much time do we actually spend in front of something—three seconds?” asks Jackson.

The inaugural exhibition at Bunker259, entitled “Protean” (until 27 October), pairs a large-scale drawing of a tree by the Boston-based artist Sandra Allen with a text about her practice by the Italian poet and curator Mario Diacono.

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