Grey Art Gallery @ NYU Receives Transformational Gift




Deborah Kass, Jim and Joe, 1993. Silkscreen on canvas, 40 x 55 in. Cottrell-Lovett Collection. Promised gift, NYU Art Collection

The Grey Art Gallery, New York University’s widely admired fine arts museum, is pleased to announce a major gift from Dr. James Cottrell and Mr. Joseph Lovett, longtime art patrons, social activists, and downtown Manhattan residents. The gift includes over 200 artworks from their extensive collection of downtown New York artists from the past 50 years.

While the Grey—which closed in March 2020 because of the pandemic—had previously been planning to undertake renovations, the gift has enabled the museum to explore a more ambitious plan. Staff members are working with Ennead Architects to design renovated facilities that will highlight the importance of the arts on campus and reshape the visitor experience for all audiences. Key among the major anticipated improvements are a named Cottrell-Lovett Gallery and the creation of the Cottrell-Lovett Study Center, which will enable researchers, faculty, and students to have more direct access to the collection of nearly 6,000 objects.

“Although we have missed mounting exhibitions and welcoming the public and the NYU community, we are elated to have received this truly transformational gift from longtime friends and dedicated supporters of downtown artists,” notes Lynn Gumpert, Director of the Grey Art Gallery. “The new study center—which will allow for up-close educational experiences with our collection—is, simply put, a dream come true.”

Once the renovations are completed, the Grey Art Gallery will be renamed the Grey Art Museum. The Grey was founded by art patron and collector Abby Weed Grey, and was inaugurated in 1975 as the Grey Art Gallery and Study Center, adopting the shortened version of its name in 1998.

The Cottrell-Lovett gift also complements the Grey’s deep ties to the Fales Library Downtown Collection at NYU Special Collections, the most comprehensive research facility to document the downtown arts scene that evolved in SoHo and the Lower East Side from the 1970s through the early 1990s. By donating some 200 artworks by artists who worked in NYU’s neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, Dr. Cottrell and Mr. Lovett will significantly expand the Grey’s existing holdings, particularly with the addition of artworks by figures from the latter half of the twentieth century. Among these artists are Donald Baechler, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barton Lidice Beneš, Roland Flexner, Keith Haring, Deborah Kass, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Dana Schutz.

The Grey will welcome visitors back to its historic location on Washington Square East in spring 2022 for the exhibition Mostly New: Selections from the NYU Art Collection. Gumpert adds, “This exhibition gives us the opportunity to display some of the works that Jim and Joe have generously donated to the NYU Art Collection, along with other treasures from the Collection, before renovations begin.”

Intermittent updates about ongoing capital projects and programming will be posted on the museum’s website.

From our archives, take a look back at Grey Art Gallery Online Gallery + Self-Guided Walking Tours in Greenwich Village ~ and Art After Stonewall, 1969 ~ 1989, an exhibition in conjunction with Leslie-Lohman Museum during Stonewall 50 in 2019.

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