Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hackett-Freedman gallery to close

I knew that SF wouldn’t be immune from the current recession. One of my favorite galleries, Gallery 415 at 49 Geary has already closed although Claudine still does business privately and via her website. But Hackett-Freedman is such a long established business that I thought it could weather the downturn. Unfortunately not! They will be closing to the public on May 1st, after the last exhibit featuring Raimonds Staprans and Marc Trujillo. Their last public exhibit will open on March 12th with a reception from 5:30 – 7:30 PM and will close on May 1st.
Founded in 1986, Hackett-Freedman Gallery exhibited 20th-century and contemporary painting and sculpture, with particular expertise in postwar American and Californian art. Over the past twenty years, the gallery has developed a reputation for representing superior works and for organizing the first major west coast exhibitions of many notable 20th-century artists. Their website is a gold mine of information and their exhibits have almost always been well thought out and organized.

Their long list of notable exhibits included works by Louise Nevelson, David Park, SF Abstract Expressionism and an exhibit on American Women painters. Last year, they held the first US exhibit of the works of British artist Patrick Heron and a comprehensive look at the final works of Bay Area painter David Park. While the gallery will still remain in the same location, it will be only showing works to private collectors - which will be a great loss to those of us who love art but don't fall in that particular category.

Given this sad news, this letter to the NY Times is very appropriate:

Money for the Arts

To the Editor:

Re “Saving Federal Arts Funds: Selling Culture as an Economic Force” (Arts pages, Feb. 16): Representative Jack Kingston of Georgia argues against allocating stimulus money for artists, saying, “Call me a sucker for the working man.” So be a sucker for artists!

Most of us are hard-working Americans, putting in long hours for low wages. Many of us are union members. If legislators really think we are such useless members of American society unworthy of scarce taxpayer dollars, then they should propose legislation exempting us from paying taxes.

Until that day, stop mislabeling and misunderstanding us and acknowledge that we contribute as much and deserve the same benefits as any other American taxpayer — no more and no less.

It is irrational to hold a belief that somehow artists are not a vital part of this country’s infrastructure. Look around you. Our work and our influence are everywhere.

After all, that money you say artists don’t deserve, who do you think designed and engraved it?

Monika Gross
New York, Feb. 16, 2009

250 Sutter Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 362-7152
images from website


Liz Hager said...

The shakeout has begun. I was in CainSchulte (SOMA) the other month and learned that they are moving to "temporary" space (an apt on Guerrero Street). I fear that, when the dust settles, perhaps Berggruen, Catharine Clark, and a few other others will be the only ones standing. I'm guessing that those closing can't make even their rent, because everything else (except for assistants and supplies) is more or less free. (Do you have any idea how Dolby-Chadwick or Andrea Schwartz are doing?)

Like most other commodities contemporary art in general (the corporate not the entrepreneurial kind) is overpriced, so I don't necessarily thing a "readjustment" is a bad thing. Many artists and galleries will do what they can in alternative spaces. But you're absolutely right, there will be less for all of us non-collecting consumers to see.

namastenancy said...

I know that a few galleries at 49 Geary have either closed or have moved: 415 has closed, 871 Fine Arts has moved to the basement of the same building where Crown Point Press is. I was talking to the woman who runs 871 Fine Arts and apparently several of the other galleries are negotiating leases. Unfortunately, the landlord is using this time to raise the rent although where he thinks he can get new tenants is beyond me.

Zoomie said...

Who painted those two works on your blog today? They look like Thiebaud? Delicious, both of them.

namastenancy said...

That's the work of Raimond Staprans which will be their last show that's open to the public (oh woe!)

lotusgreen said...

i thought thiebaud too!

sad. they were very nice to deal with. but a friend of mine was represented by them and they couldn't sell his work, and then he moved up the street and it worked better.