NYU’s Grey Art Museum with Inaugural Exhibition, ‘Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946-1962’

 

 

 

18 Cooper Square in the NoHo historic district, the future home of NYU’s new Grey Art Museum, which will be located on the ground floor. Designed by Ennead Architects. Photo credit: © Aislinn Weidele/Ennead Architects.

After nearly a half century on Washington Square, the Grey Art Gallery, New York University’s fine arts museum, will reopen in a purpose-designed, larger, and more visible space at 18 Cooper Square in lower Manhattan on Friday, March 2, 2024. With this transformational move, the Grey will be renamed the Grey Art Museum. The inaugural exhibition will be ‘Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946-1962‘ and will be on view from March 2 to July 20, 2024, along with a plethora of public programming.

Installation view of Americans in Paris: Artists Working inn Postwar France, 1946-1962 at the Grey Art Museum, New York University. Designed by Ennead Architects. Photo: David Heald

The Grey’s new facility occupies the entire ground floor of a venerable brick and iron building in the NoHo Historic District, its storefront façade facing out onto a busy pedestrian thoroughfare at the intersection of the East Village and NoHo. The new premises at 18 Cooper Square accommodates three galleries—expanding exhibition space by 40%—and a new study center enabling more direct access to the collection for students, faculty, and researchers. In addition to the study center, the lower-level houses art preparation/ fabrication shops, storage, and several offices.

“Our new home at 18 Cooper Square is an ideal platform from which to play an even larger and more integral role in the life of the university and the downtown arts community,” says Lynn Gumpert, Grey Art Gallery Director. “Because many of NYU’s provostial centers and institutes are housed next door, we will be able to collaborate even more extensively with the cultural and intellectual spheres of NYU’s global network and enhance our abilities to serve the needs of students.”

The game-changing move is made possible in part by a generous gift from Dr. James Cottrell and Joseph Lovett, longtime art patrons and social activists. The couple has also donated more than 100 works of contemporary art (from a promised 200), drawn from their extensive art collection focusing on downtown artists. One of the new galleries will be named the Cottrell-Lovett Gallery and the research facility, the Cottrell-Lovett Study Center.

Installation view of Americans in Paris: Artists Working inn Postwar France, 1946-1962 at the Grey Art Museum, New York University. Designed by Ennead Architects. Photo: David Heald

About the inaugural exhibition:

 Ralph Coburn, Aux Bermudes, 1951–52. Oil on six painted panels, painted wood, 28 3/4 x 55 1/4 in. Private collection, New York. Courtesy David Hall Gallery, LLC 

Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962, the first major exhibition to examine the historical impact of the expatriate art scene in Paris after World War II, opens on Saturday, March 2, 2024, at the Grey Art Museum at New York University, formerly the Grey Art Gallery. This international loan exhibition is the museum’s inaugural presentation in its new home at 18 Cooper Square in the NoHo Historic District in downtown Manhattan. 

James Baldwin and Beauford Delaney, Paris, c.1960; © Estate of Beauford Delaney by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire, Court Appointed Administrator. Courtesy Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York

Showcased in the new galleries will be more than 130 paintings, sculptures, photographs, films, textiles, and works on paper. Loans from a wide range of collections—public and private, from the U.S. and abroad—provide a fresh perspective on a moment of creative ferment too often overshadowed by the contemporaneous ascendancy of the New York City art scene. The exhibition also sheds new light on the contributions of artists who relocated to France hoping to escape institutionalized racism, sexism, and homophobia. 

Six years in the making, Americans in Paris is organized by the Grey Art Museum, New York University, and curated by the independent scholar Debra Bricker Balken with Lynn Gumpert, Director of the Grey. Gumpert says, “When Debra and I began to discuss the idea for this exhibition, we were astonished to find that there had been no other major show or publication on this mid-century phenomenon, despite the fact that a number of the artists are very well known.” 

Installation view of Americans in Paris: Artists Working inn Postwar France, 1946-1962 at the Grey Art Museum, New York University. Designed by Ennead Architects. Photo: David Heald

Says Balken, “This has been an intellectual adventure far richer than we could have anticipated. Along the way, we have encountered artists whose achievements deserve more scholarly attention. We’ve also gained new insight into the cultural, social, and aesthetic complexities these artists were grappling with as they forged new modernist territory in the postwar era.” 

Seventy artists are represented in Americans in Paris, including many whose work has not received the recognition it merits—James Bishop, Robert Breer, Ralph Coburn, Harold Cousins, Claire Falkenstein, Shirley Jaffe, Kimber Smith, and Shinkichi Tajiri among them. Others are well-known, even canonical, figures, such as Sam Francis, Leon Golub, Ellsworth Kelly, Joan Mitchell, Kenneth Noland, Peter Saul, Nancy Spero, Mark Tobey, and Jack Youngerman. 

Ed Clark, The City, 1952. Acrylic on canvas, 51 x 78 1/2 in. (129.5 x 199.4 cm). Collection of Melania Clark, Boston. Courtesy Hauser and Wirth © Estate of Ed Clark. Photo: Hollister and Young, Michigan Imaging.

Ed Clark, The City, 1952. Acrylic on canvas, 51 x 78 1/2 in. Collection of Melanca Clark, Detroit. Courtesy Hauser and Wirth. © Estate of Ed Clark. Photo: Hollister and Young, Michigan Imaging.

Intense experimentation among these closely knit, if shifting, circles of artists generated a variety of formal inventions and personal artistic styles. Visitors to Americans in Paris will encounter such works as The City (1952), by Ed Clark, a vibrant large-scale painting where primary and secondary colors collide like bumper cars; an abstract painting by Shirley Jaffe that wrests an individual imprint from the period’s default style; and masterly works by Joan Mitchell, all explosions and tangles of paint skeins in her inimitable palette. That abstraction also took an entirely different turn from gestural, painterly compositions is seen in Ralph Coburn’s semaphore-like Aux Bermudes (1951–52); Ellsworth Kelly’s Fond Jaune (1950), where fragmented forms balance delicately on a yellow ground; and Carmen Herrera’s elegant Curves: Orange, Blue and White, 1949. Figuration was present, too, as is seen in Barbershop (1950), by Haywood “Bill” Rivers, wherein the Black North Carolina-reared artist renders a scene from the American South in an impastoed faux-naif style. In Shinkichi Tajiri’s Lament for Lady (for Billie Holiday) (1953), the sculptor creates a disjunctive assemblage of industrial cast-offs that combines symbolic elements, like a bent-and-crumpled brass gardenia, with an actual photograph of the jazz icon. 

Installation view of Americans in Paris: Artists Working inn Postwar France, 1946-1962 at the Grey Art Museum, New York University. Designed by Ennead Architects. Photo: David Heald

Because a good number of the works on view come from early in the artists’ careers, Americans in Paris contributes to the understanding of the development of many of the featured artists—dramatically so in the case of the abstract paintings by William Klein, works that preceded his experiments in photography and his later success as an art and commercial photographer and a filmmaker. 

While the first section of Americans in Paris focuses on 25 American artists who lived and worked in France for a year or more, the second section—the “Salon”—provides visitors with a snapshot of art that the expats themselves would have encountered in the influential salons and galleries of postwar Paris, such as works by Jean Dubuffet, Georges Matthieu, and Wols. Also featured in this section are contributions by artists who likewise spent a year or more in the City of Light, including Louise Bourgeois, Bernard Childs, William Copley, and Liliane Lijn. Black American artists Emil Cadoo, Herbert Gentry, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Larry Potter, and filmmaker Melvin van Peebles; Filipino American Alfonso Ossorio; Chinese American Walasse Ting; and Native American George Morrison, are likewise represented. 

Shinkichi Tajiri, Lament for Lady (for Billie Holiday), 1953. Brass, bronze, and photograph, 24 x 33 x 13 3/8 in. (61 x 83.8 x 34 cm). Collection of Giotta Tapir and Rye Tapir, Baarlo, Netherlands © 2023 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New Yorkc/o Pictoright Amsterdam

“When Being an American in Paris Seemed the Thing to Be” 

Jack Youngerman, one of the first GIs to land in Paris, was quoted as saying that being an American in Paris after the war seemed the thing to be. He could have been speaking for any number of the artists represented in Americans in Paris. 

The exhibition covers a 17-year period beginning in 1946, when the U.S. Embassy in Paris began processing applications from ex-service members for the new GI Bill. A monthly stipend of $75 allowed expats to live fairly comfortably in postwar Paris, which was still recovering from the Nazi occupation. Enrollment in the city’s numerous ateliers was not only easy, but was paid for by the GI Bill. Modern masters such as Ferdinand Léger and Ossip Zadkine, as well as schools such as the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and Académie Julian, welcomed Americans, whose tuition provided a steady income stream. Study in Paris offered the opportunity to visit the capital’s famed museums and to hang out in its legendary cafés frequented by the likes of Alberto Giacometti, Simone de Beauvoir, and Jean-Paul Sartre. In 1950, American artists even established their own cooperative gallery, Galerie Huit, named for its address at 8, rue Saint-Julien-le Pauvre on the Left Bank. 

Carmen Herrera, Réalités Nouvelles, 1948. Acrylic on canvas, 31 x 39 1/4 in. (78.7 x 99.7 cm) © Estate of Carmen Herrera. Courtesy Lisson Gallery, New York

At the same time, the Americans encountered undercurrents of nationalistic tension, as French artists and critics sought to maintain the centuries-long artistic preeminence of the City of Light. By 1962—when the show concludes—many artists felt that the once-inspiring atmosphere in Paris had diminished. That same year, Algeria achieved independence from France after many years of demonstrations and riots, and ultimately, war. By then, many Americans had decided to return to the U.S., which was experiencing a burgeoning Civil Rights movement of its own, along with––due to the rise of artist-run galleries in New York––more opportunities to exhibit. 

Installation view of Americans in Paris: Artists Working inn Postwar France, 1946-1962 at the Grey Art Museum, New York University. Designed by Ennead Architects. Photo: David Heald

Tour After its debut at the Grey, Americans in Paris travels to the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and The NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery in the United Arab Emirates. 

Publication Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962 is accompanied by a 300-page volume of the same name, which was released in fall 2022. Co-published by Hirmer and the Grey Art Museum, New York University, it has been shortlisted for the 2023 American Library in Paris Book Award. In addition to an introduction by Lynn Gumpert, essays by Debra Balken, Rashida K. Braggs, Elisa Capdevila, and J. English Cook investigate the distinctive nature of the postwar scene, the Black experience in Paris, the critical reception of American artists by the Parisian art world and its salon system, and the Hollywood films that mythologized the expat experience, respectively. Americans in Paris also includes an extensive, illustrated chronology of the period, along with never-before-published interviews from the early 1990s, where artists, dealers, critics, and curators active in mid-century Paris spoke to Billy Klüver and Julie Martin. $55 retail. Available in the Grey Art Museum Bookstore and online. 

Claire Falkenstein, Sun, c.1959. Welded copper, 27 1/2 x 35 x 66 in. (69.8 x 88.9 x 167.6 cm) © The Falkenstein Foundation. Courtesy Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York

Sponsorship American in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962 is curated by Debra Bricker Balken with Lynn Gumpert. It is made possible in part by generous support from the Terra Foundation for American Art, sponsor of the international tour; the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation; Hauser & Wirth; the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation; The Falkenstein Foundation; the O’Brien Art Foundation; Francis H. Williams and Keris Salmon; Robert E. Holmes and David Hubensky; the Al Held Foundation; David Hall Gallery, LLC, Wellesley, MA; the Sam Francis Foundation; the Grey’s Director’s Circle, Inter/National Council, and Friends; and the Abby Weed Grey Trust. In-kind support is provided by ArtCare Conservation, Ryan Lee Gallery, and Les Films du Jeudi. Support for the publication has been provided by the Boris Lurie Art Foundation; the Henry Luce Foundation; and the Schaina & Josephina Lurje Memorial Foundation. 

Funding for travel and research was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art; Global Research Initiatives, Office of the Provost, New York University; and the Rhode Island School of Design Professional Development Fund. 

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Shirley Jaffe, Untitled, 1954. Oil on canvas, 60 x 41 1/2 in. (152.4 x 105.4 cm). National Academy of Design, New York © 2023 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris.

About the Curators Debra Bricker Balken is an award-winning independent curator, scholar, and writer who has assembled numerous exhibitions internationally for major museums on subjects relating to American modernism and contemporary art. Most recently, she authored Harold Rosenberg: A Critic’s Life (University of Chicago Press, 2021), and Arthur Dove: A Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings and Things (Yale University Press, 2021). In 2017, she curated Mark Tobey: Threading the Light, which was organized by the Addison Gallery of American Art, and opened at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection with that year’s Venice Biennale. 

Lynn Gumpert has been director of the Grey Art Museum, New York University’s fine arts museum, since 1997. Among the more than 75 exhibitions she has overseen at the Grey are Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection (2019); The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal (2018); and Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965 (2017). She previously worked as a writer, consultant, and independent curator, organizing shows in New York, Japan, and France, and as senior curator at the New Museum, New York. In 1999, she was made Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. 

Harold Cousins, LaForet, c. 1960. Welded bronze with patina and wood base, 42 x 47 1/2 x 17 1/2 in. (106.7 x 120.7 x 44.5 cm) © Estate of Harold Cousins. Courtesy Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York.

Public Programming

Throughout the presentation of its inaugural exhibition Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962, the Grey Art Museum at New York University will present a series of curator tours, critical conversations, films, and celebrations focused on the themes and artists showcased in the exhibition. Highlights of programming are described below. Events will all take place at the Grey Art Museum’s new home at 18 Cooper Square, New York City, unless otherwise noted.

Curator Tours, Wednesday, March 6, 1–2pm and 6–7pm

Guest Curator Debra Bricker Balken and Co-curator Lynn Gumpert, Director of the Grey Art Museum, will lead a guided tour of Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962.

Due to overwhelming demand, registration for these tours has closed. Please check the Grey’s website for an additional curator tour in March, or register for our exhibition walkthrough on April 24, and curator tour on Al Held and Galerie Huit on May 8.

Artist Talk and Conversation | The Threads of Architecture: Artist Sheila Hicks with Architect Frida Escobedo, Friday, March 8, 6–7pm, The Met Fifth Avenue, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium

Join our friends at the Met Museum to celebrate International Women’s Day with fiber arts pioneer Sheila Hicks and architect Frida Escobedo. Hicks has works on view both in the Met’s exhibition, Weaving Abstraction in Ancient and Modern Art, and in the Grey’s exhibition, Americans in Paris, many of which are on view for the first time.

In this talk, Hicks and Escobedo will discuss their shared interests with Met curators, including ancient and modern architecture, textile technologies, and their experiences of Mexico in connection with their respective practices.

Moderated by Iria Candela, Estrellita B. Brodsky Curator of Latin American Art, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Free with Museum admission, though advance registration is required. Note:Space is limited; first come, first served.

Panel Discussion | Painting’s Banlieue: Expat Intermedia Arts in Paris, Tuesday, March 26, 6–7:30pm, 20 Cooper Square, Room 101

Americans in Paris highlights the vibrant expatriate art scene in Paris after World War II, examining how the French capital fostered artistic freedom and experimentation in a way that New York could not. This panel takes up the exhibition’s offer to rethink our understanding of postwar American art in light of its Parisian influences—speakers will pay particular attention to practices that stretch across media and discipline and put painting and sculpture into dialogue with film, photography, and writing.

Papers will explore topics such as the triangulation of African American literature, Japonisme, and postwar Paris; transnational Black aesthetics and notions of “free time”; art, kitsch, and mid-century modern magazine layouts; and the changing significance of Paris vis à vis questions about the continuing relevance of the western humanistic tradition.

Panelists:

Emily Apter, Julius Silver Professor of French Literature Thought and Culture and Comparative Literature, New York University

Honey Crawford, Assistant Professor of English, New York University

Lytle Shaw, Professor of English, New York University

Robert Slifkin, Edith Kitzmiller Professor of the History of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

Moderated by Lytle Shaw

Please register to attend this event. For attendance without an active NYU ID card, RSVP by March 25 to guarantee building access.

Co-sponsored by the Department of English, NYU; the Center for the Humanities, NYU; and the Remarque Institute, NYU

Film Screenings | Americans in Paris at Anthology Film Archives, Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue, $12 General Admission

In conjunction with Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962, Anthology Film Archives will host four programs featuring American expat artists who are showcased in the exhibition, and for whom living in Paris played a formative role in their lives and artistic development.

Melvin Van Peebles

Friday, March 29 and Saturday, March 30, 7:30pm

The first program presents two works by trailblazing filmmaker and writer Melvin Van Peebles, whose edgy, angsty, and romantic first feature could never have been made in America. Unable to break into a segregated Hollywood, he decamped to France in 1960, taught himself the language, and wrote a number of books in French—one of which, LA PERMISSION, would become his stylistically innovative feature debut. Total running time: ca. 105 min.

Robert Breer, Kenneth Anger, and Carmen D’Avino, Thursday, April 4, 7:30pm

This program brings together work by Robert Breer and Kenneth Anger, two artists whose place in the pantheon of experimental filmmakers is undisputed, as well as painter and animator Carmen D’Avino, whose films were celebrated in their time but have since fallen into relative obscurity. Total running time: ca. 45 min.

William Klein, April 17, 7:30pm

The third program focuses on painter, filmmaker, and acclaimed fashion photographer, William Klein, who relocated permanently to France in 1948, where he would create the body of photographic and cinematic work for which he is justly renowned. This screening features rare shorts that that he made for the French television news programs Cinq colonnes à la une and Les femmes aussi in the early-to-mid 1960s. Total running time: ca. 90 min.

Shinkichi Tajiri, Thursday, April 25, 7:30pm

The fourth and final program features shines a spotlight on artist Shinkichi Tajiri, who is best known for his sculptural work, but who also made a number of fascinating films. Tajiri ventured to Paris in 1948 on the GI Bill and created sculptures with metal and found objects that, as he stated, helped “to purge [himself] of the horrors of the war.” This program includes four of Tajiri’s short films, as well as the great Dutch documentary filmmaker Johan van der Keuken’s 1988 film portrait of Tajiri and Carmen D’Avino’s 1950 documentary VERNISSAGE OF AMERICAN ARTISTS, which provides glimpses of Tajiri and several other American artists in Paris at the time. All the films in this program, with the exception of VERNISSAGE OF AMERICAN ARTISTS, are screened courtesy of the Eye Filmmuseum. Total running time: ca. 65 min

Conversation | The Stone Face: Black American Expats in Mid-Century Paris, Wednesday, April 3, 6–7:30pm, La Maison Française at NYU, 16 Washington Mews

The Grey and La Maison Française at NYU present the acclaimed writer, Adam Shatz, for a conversation with Lynn Gumpert, director of the Grey Art Museum, that centers on American expat novelist William Gardner Smith’s The Stone Face (1963). Reprinted in 2021, Smith’s work exposes the complexity of postwar Paris as both a haven for Black Americans fleeing racism in the U.S., and a stage for colonial violence such as the police massacre of peaceful Algerian protestors in 1961. Discussion will focus on the community of Black American writers, artists, and intellectuals who experienced the politics of exile in Algerian War-era Paris.

Copies of The Stone Face will be available for purchase.

Please register to attend this event.

Student Evening, Thursday, April 11, 6–8pm

The Grey hosts a special after-hours reception and viewing of Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962 for college students featuring Parisian jazz performed by students from the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, NYU (Steinhardt). Organized by members of the Grey’s Student Friends Committee.

Registration open to college and university students only (link forthcoming).

Co-sponsored by the Center for Ballet and the Arts, NYU

Roundtable Discussion | Black Abstraction / Black Existentialism, Tuesday, April 16, 6–7:30pm, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, James B. Duke House, 1 East 78th Street

Though many Black artists who spent time in France embraced experiments with abstract modes of production—thus impacting the trajectory of modernist abstraction—they are often eclipsed by the constraining discourses around Abstract Expressionism and Civil Rights-era protest art. The roundtable “Black Abstraction | Black Existentialism” will think through and beyond modernist aesthetics, constructions of blackness, and geo-political relations to probe the uses of abstraction as a tool of subjective expression, radical politics, or opacity for Black artists throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

Discussants:

  • Lewis R. Gordon, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Global Affairs and Head of Philosophy, UCONN
  • Erich Kessel, Assistant Professor of African American and Black Diaspora Arts, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU
  • Darla Migan, Art critic and Lecturer, Parsons, The New School
  • Denise Murrell, Associate Curator of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Moderated by JaBrea Patterson-West, Graduate Curatorial Assistant at the Grey Art Museum, NYU, and Ph.D. candidate, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU.

A reception will follow the roundtable.

Co-sponsored by the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU; the Remarque Institute, NYU; and the Center for the Humanities, NYU

Please check the Grey’s website to register.

Exhibition Walkthrough | Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962, Wednesday, April 24, 6–7pm

JaBrea Patterson-West, Graduate Curatorial Assistant at the Grey Art Museum and Ph.D. candidate, Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, will give a guided walkthrough of Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962.

Space is limited—registration is required.

Soho Arts Network (SAN) Downtown Culture Walk, Saturday, May 4, 11am–5pm (regular Saturday hours)

The Grey Art Museum is pleased to participate in Downtown Culture Walk, a self-guided walking tour presented by the SoHo Arts Network (SAN), highlighting the non-profit art spaces in the SoHo and downtown neighborhoods. Open hours and other programming will be offered at member locations for free or reduced admission. Access more information at the SAN website.

The Grey will have open hours from 11am–5pm; the museum’s exhibition Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962 will be on view.

Copies of the Downtown Culture Walk brochure/map will be available at the Grey’s front desk.

Discussion and Exhibition Walkthrough | Americans in Paris: Al Held and Galerie 8, Wednesday, May 8, 6–7:00pm

The Grey presents Debra Bricker Balken, guest curator of Americans in Paris, and Daniel Belasco, Executive Director of the Al Held Foundation, in a discussion and exhibition walkthrough highlighting Held’s gestural painting in postwar Paris and the bustling circle of American expat artists who exhibited at the cooperatively-run Galerie Huit (1950–1956).

Space is limited—registration is required.

Norman Bluhm, Bleeding Rain, 1956. Oil on canvas, 51 x 63 3/4 x 1 1/4 in. (129.5 x 161.9 x 3.2 cm). Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University. Gift of Katherine Komaroff Goodman, 77.074.001.

About the Grey Art Museum, NYU After nearly a half century on Washington Square, the Grey Art Gallery changes its name to Grey Art Museum and moves into an expanded, purpose-designed space at 18 Cooper Square in downtown Manhattan with the opening of Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962. 

The Grey’s new facility occupies the entire ground floor of a venerable brick and iron building in the NoHo Historic District, its open storefront façade facing out onto a busy pedestrian thoroughfare. The new location accommodates three galleries—expanding exhibition space by 40%—and a new study center enabling more direct access to the collection for students, faculty, and researchers. On the lower level are the Cottrell-Lovett Study Center, art preparation/fabrication shops, art storage, and several offices. 

In 2025, the Grey Art Museum celebrates its 50th anniversary. Over the last five decades the institution has organized exhibitions that have encompassed all the visual arts: painting, sculpture, drawing and printmaking, photography, architecture and decorative arts, video, film, and performance. In addition to producing its own exhibitions, which often travel to other venues in the United States and abroad, the museum hosts traveling shows that might otherwise not be seen in New York and produces scholarly publications that are distributed worldwide. 

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Take a look back at a 2023 conversation with Lynn Gumpert, Director of NYU’s Grey Art Gallery and Debra Bricker Balken, independent curator on the book Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946-1962 at Rizzoli Bookstore.