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Boston gallery shake-up

Art on the move
By GREG COOK  |  March 26, 2008

Gallery Anthony Curtis

Three of Boston’s most important galleries are about to make major changes, and rumors are rampant that several others may soon move or close, signaling a major upheaval in the city’s art scene.

The ALLSTON SKIRT GALLERY at 450 Harrison Avenue in the South End, which just had two of its artists named among the four finalists for the Institute of Contemporary Art’s 2008 Foster Prize, will close after its April 4 through May 17 show. “It wasn’t financial,” says Randi Hopkins (a frequent Phoenix contributor), who owns and operates the gallery with Beth Kantrowitz. “Our lease is up [in November]. It’s been nine years working together. Our two visions want to go in different ways.”

BERNARD TOALE, whose gallery anchors the front corner of the building at 450 Harrison Avenue, and who has run a gallery in town since 1992, is hashing out a new lease that would have him divide his space over the summer. Plans are for gallery director Joseph Carroll to take over much of the space and open an independent gallery there in September. Carroll’s new venue would continue to feature several of Toale’s major local artists — including Laura McPhee, Ambreen Butt, and Abelardo Morell, who’ve all shown at the Museum in Fine Arts in recent years. Toale plans to run an art-consulting business out of a corner of the space.

HOWARD YEZERSKI, who has run a Boston gallery for nearly 20 years, is working out a lease to move from 14 Newbury Street to 460 Harrison Avenue over the summer. The old factory building at the new address is being redeveloped by GTI Properties, which owns numerous South End buildings, including 450 Harrison next door.

STEPHANIE WALKER, former co-director at Newbury Street’s Chase Gallery, is looking to open her own gallery on that street, perhaps as early as this fall. (Walker’s been living in Los Angeles for the past year.) BETH URDANG also is looking for a new Newbury Street spot for her gallery when the lease on her current space at 129 Newbury Street expires on June 1. GALLERY ANTHONY CURTIS is considering moving to Harrison Avenue because, sources there say, its location at 186 South Street feels isolated.

There are widespread rumors that MILLER BLOCK may soon be moving from 14 Newbury Street to Harrison Avenue and that RHYS GALLERY, at 401 Harrison Avenue, may be leaving town, but both those galleries declined to comment. There are other rumors — grim ones suggesting that as many as three additional galleries may close in the next several months. Stay tuned.

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  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Bernard Toale , Stephanie Walker , Cultural Institutions and Parks ,  More more >
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