It’s a big day for 88 Eldridge and the Lower East Side. Tonight, Miguel Abreu’s impressive new two-story, 15,000 square foot space hosts an inaugural exhibition.
While Abreu himself won’t begin his programming until January, the much respected dealer David Lewis (formerly Balice Hertling & Lewis), opens more than 2,000 square feet of Abreu’s new 7,500 exhibition space to his ten-artist exhibition, “A Scanner, Darkly” Capricious Magazine, which moved into their office last week, will launch their exhibition during the building’s next round of openings, which takes place November 15th.
Lewis’ upsize is nothing short of significant; previously he occupied a closet-sized gallery in Hell’s Kitchen. The same can be said for Abreu, who tells Art F City his new two story 15,000 square foot space more than quadruples his current space. Capricious Magazine, another Abreu subletter, has already set up offices and plans to launch their first exhibition November 15th. While we’ve read a lot about the struggles of mid-size galleries, it seems many are expanding.
“I was interested in having the right person here.” Abreu told me when I asked him about how he came to work with Lewis. “So he for me was the right person. He’s very smart, he has a PhD. He’s written on a lot of my artists. He was my preferred tenant.”
Like many projects in the art world, Abreu’s expansion is, at least in part, built on personal connections. The space itself was secured after two years of renting the space as storage from Stephen Felton, an artist who originally cleaned up what was a former sweatshop. The architects for the project, Common Room, also designed Canada’s new 4,200 square foot space. And for the sublets, Lewis had already worked with Abreu, and Sophie Morner, Capricious’ owner, knew Abreu through a personal friend.
“I think it’s important to the neighborhood to do something this large and this collaborative.” Abreu said. He was speaking not only of all the collaborators he worked with to make this project happen, but the space itself which is built to include collaboration. In addition to exhibition space and offices the loft includes an artist workshop for on-site construction, a bookstore, and even small apartment. “And it’s totally different than anything in Chelsea.”
As for Lewis, he tells us the space offers an “incredible opportunity”. In the usual pre-exhibition opening scramble, though, he was unable to offer more comment.