The Gagosian gallery will have to move out of the historic Madison Avenue building – one of its homes for over three decades.
According to news reports, RFR Holdings (owner of 980 Madison Avenue) has submitted a proposal of leasing 85 percent of its space to Bloomberg Philanthropies; the lease would last until July 31, 2053. Bloomberg Philanthropies is the charitable wing of the Bloomberg empire belonging to billionaire Michael Bloomberg. As per reports, Bloomberg might have to pay as much as $21 million per year in rent to RFR Holdings. Bloomberg Philanthropies would move into the space after the current lease ends. It plans to expand over 75 percent of the building’s space by the end of 2025.
Madison Avenue is a historic building that holds special significance in New York history – particularly its art scene. It was built in 1949 for Parke-Bernet Galleries, which was the largest auction house in the USA at its peak. The creation of the building, which stands out due to its 16-foot sculpture of Goddess Venus, made Manhattan’s upper side a hub of art centers over the years. After Parke-Bernet was sold to Sotheby’s in 1964, portions of the building were leased to various organizations.
In 1987, Gagosian opened a small office at 980 Madison Avenue. They soon expanded their presence there, and launched their first exhibition in 1989. The building became one of the six locations of Gagosian – an international chain of galleries – and hosted numerous exhibitions over the years.
Speaking of the development, Larry Gagosian said: “[The building] has been our uptown home since 1987, so obviously this will take some adjustment, but I am happy to say that we are in the process of securing a great new location in the neighborhood.”