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Time's Up for Clocktower Gallery in TriBeCa After Four Decades

By Irene Plagianos | November 22, 2013 10:04am
  The legendary Clocktower Gallery, at 108 Leonard St., is closing before the building is turned into a luxury condo.
Clocktower Gallery Closing
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TRIBECA — After more than 40 years as a hub for groundbreaking artists, the Clocktower Gallery is closing this weekend because its landmarked building is being turned into luxury condos.

The 10,000 square-foot space on the 13th floor of city-owned 108 Leonard St. has been at the forefront of the alternative arts scene for decades, and was an early home for artists like Laurie Anderson and Gordon Matta-Clark, who once lathered up and showered while dangling from the clock tower as part of his aptly named “Clock Shower” performance piece.

The city sold the building, which was mostly home to city agencies and administrative offices, last year, as part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to consolidate government office space.

Real estate developer the Peebles Corporation is slated to turn the building into luxury condos and a hotel.

"We're very proud of the work we've done here," said gallery program director David Weinstein. "Leaving was a shock at first, but there's also been a lot of increased security to this building since 9/11, and it's not the easiest space to get to."

The gallery, which was founded by Alanna Heiss, who also started the popular P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, will be open through Saturday, ending with a final celebration that’s free and open to the public with RSVP.

In its last couple of days, visitors to the quirky space will be able to view two exhibits: a collection of paintings, sculptural works and writings by renowned artist Dale Henry and the psychedelic screen prints and large-scale fabric installation of the gallery's current artist-in-residence, Crystal Stokowski.

The final celebration, which start at 6 p.m. Saturday will include a host of “surprises,” organizers said, as well as performances by artists Sasha Frieberg, Brooklyn-based band Ava Luna, DJ Shakey and others.

The gallery, which also hosts a radio station that will continue uninterrupted, plans to work with art collaboration space Pioneer Works in Red Hook, as well with the Knockdown Center in Queens, and it also has several pop-up shows planned in Times Square, Weinstein said. The gallery will continue to look for another permanent space as well.

"We're going to keep moving forward," Weinstein said, "and are excited about the new partnerships we have."