Grey Art Gallery

Grey Art Gallery

NYU Silver Center,
home to the Grey Art Gallery
Established 1975
Location 100 Washington Square East
New York University
New York, New York
Coordinates 40°43′49″N 73°59′44″W / 40.73025°N 73.99568°W / 40.73025; -73.99568
Type University art museum
Website Official website

The Grey Art Gallery is New York University's fine art museum, located on historic Washington Square Park, in New York City's Greenwich Village. As a university art museum, the Grey Art Gallery functions to collect, preserve, study, document, interpret, and exhibit the evidence of human culture. While these goals are common to all museums, the Grey distinguishes itself by emphasizing art’s historical, cultural, and social contexts, with experimentation and interpretation as integral parts of programmatic planning. Thus, in addition to being a place to view the objects of material culture, the Gallery serves as a museum-laboratory in which a broader view of an object’s environment enriches our understanding of its contribution to civilization.

Founded in 1958 with the acquisition of Francis Picabia's Resonateur (1922), and Fritz Glarner's Relational Painting (1949–50), The Grey Art Gallery oversees the art collection of New York University; approximately 6,000 works, mainly dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, such as Pablo Picasso's Bust of Sylvette (1967) installed in University Village (Manhattan), and Joseph Cornell's Chocolat Menier (1952), and works by Henri Matisse, Joan Mirò, Ilya Bolotowsky, as well as works by Romare Bearden, Arshile Gorky, Adolph Gottlieb, Kenneth Noland, Jane Freilicher, Ad Reinhardt, and Alex Katz, among others.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

Under the directorship of Lynn Gumpert since 1997, each year the Grey's exhibition space hosts traveling shows and creates exhibitions including painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, photography, architecture, decorative arts, film, video, performance art, and retrospectives of major contemporary artists.[8] The Grey also develops its own publications and educational programs based on some exhibitions.

The mission of the Grey Art Gallery is to collect, preserves, study, document, interpret, and exhibits evidence of human culture.[9]


History of the Building

The Grey Art Gallery’s location is rich in cultural history. The Gallery is housed in the Silver Center (formally Main building), on the site on NYU’s original home, the legendary University Building (1835–94), where many famous artists and writers, including Samuel Colt, Daniel Huntington, George Inness, and Henry James, worked. It was also here that Professor Samuel F. B. Morse established the first academic art department in America.[10]

Between 1927 and 1942, the space now inhabited by the Grey Art Gallery was occupied by A.E. Gallatin’s Gallery (later Museum) of Living Art. NYU’s inaugural art gallery, this was also the first American museum exclusively devoted to modernist art. In exhibiting work by Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Joan Miró, Piet Mondrian, Jean Arp, and artists associated with the American Abstract Artists group, Gallatin created a forum for intellectual exchange and a place where people could acquaint themselves with the latest developments in art.NYU was without a permanent museum until 1975, when a generous gift from Mrs. Abby Weed Grey enabled renovation and improvement of the historic space, and the doors reopened as the Grey Art Gallery.[11]

Patron and founder of the museum and study center, Mrs. Abby Weed Grey[12] collected some 800 works of contemporary art on her travels throughout India,[13] Turkey, and Iran, including works by modernist sculpture Parviz Tanavoli, and artists Charles Hossein Zenderoudi, Siah Armajani, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, and Faramarz Pilaram, which comprises the The Abby Weed Grey Collection of Asian and Middle Eastern Art.

A native of Saint Paul, Minnesota and graduate of Vassar College, Mrs. Grey established the Ben and Abby Grey Foundation to sponsor artists. Mrs. Grey was interested in traditional craft, connections and juxtapositions between the past and present, and promoting global artistic exchange.[14][15] Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Mrs. Grey undertook curatorial projects, including Fourteen Contemporary Iranians, (1962–65) and Turkish Art Today (1966-70), each of which toured the United States;Communication Through Art (1964), opening simultaneously in Istanbul, Tehran, and Lahore, before traveling throughout the eastern Mediterranean, Asia, and eastern Africa; and art fairOne World Through Art.[16][17] By 1979, Mrs. Grey had become one of American's prominent collectors of Asian and Middle Eastern art.[18]

Mrs. Grey served on the Board of Trustees of The Minnesota Society of Fine Arts (1967-1973) and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design's Board of Overseers (1964-1983).[19][20] She endowed the Grey Fellowship in Museum Studies at the Walker Art Center, and in 1979, established and endowed The Grey Fine Arts Library and Study Center, a resource for the Department of Fine Arts of New York University.[21]


Abby Weed Grey Collection of Modern Asian and Middle Eastern Art

The gallery, which opened to the public in 1975, was endowed by Abby Weed Grey, who also donated some 1,000 works of modern art that she acquired during her frequent travels in Asia and the Middle East. Mrs. Grey was especially supportive of Iranian art, which comprises one-fifth of her collection at NYU.

Iranian Art

Parviz Tanavoli, The Last Poet of Iran, 1964

Artists include: Mahmud Ahmadi, Siah Armajani, Jamal Bakhshpour, Kamran Diba, Bijan Dowlatshahi, Ahmad Esfandiari, Mansour Ghandriz, Behrooz Golzari, Marcos Grigorian, Mahmoud Javadipour, Hossein Kazemi, Hossein Khatayi, Sumbat Kiureghian, Sirous Malek, Morteza Momayez, Mir-Hosein Mousavi (Khameneh), Nassar Ovissi, Ru’in Pakbaz, Faramarz Pilaram, Behjat Sadr, Sohrab Sepehri, Masoumeh Seyhoun, Jazeh Tabatabai, Sadegh Tabrizi, Parviz Tanavoli, Esmail Tavakoli, Hamid Zarrine-Afsar, Charles Hossein Zenderoudi

Indian Art

Artists include: Prabhakar Barwe, Dhanraj Bhagat, Satish Gujral, Maqbool Fida Husain, Kanwal Krishna, Francis Newton Souza, Krishna Reddy, Vivan Sundaram, Jehangir P. Vazifdar

Turkish Art

Artists include: Mustaga Aslier, Aliye Berger, Nurullah Berk, Sabri Berkel, Sadan Bezeyis, Abindin Elderoglu, Dervim Erbil, Ahmet Gürsoy, Nevil Islek, Bedri Rahmi Eyüboglu

The New York University Art Collection

The New York University Art Collection, of which the Grey Art Gallery is now guardian, was founded in 1958 with the acquisition of Francis Picabia's Resonateur (c.1922) and Fritz Glarner's Relational Painting (1949–50). Today the collection (which includes approximately 6,000 objects) is primarily composed of late-nineteenth- and twentieth-century works, ranging from Pablo Picasso's monumental public sculpture Bust of Sylvette to a Joseph Cornell box, Chocolat Menier, from 1952. The collection's particular strength is American painting from the 1940s to the present, with works by such well-known artists as Romare Bearden, Elaine de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Arshile Gorky, Adolph Gottlieb, Kenneth Noland, and Ad Reinhardt. European prints are also well represented, with works by Henri Matisse, Joan Mirò, and Picasso, to name a few.

Artists include: Milton Avery, Ilya Bolotowsky, Sonia Delunay, Helen Frankenthaler, Al Held, Hans Hofmann, Alex Katz, Nicholas Krushenick, Yayoi Kusama, Edouard Manet, Agnes Martin, Robert Motherwell, Louise Nevelson, Kenneth Noland, Francis Picabia, Robert Rauschenberg, Bernard (Tony) Rosenthal, Willem de Kooning

Exhibitions and public programs

Symposium: Collapsing Disciplines and Distance: Experiments in Japanese Arts in the 1970s.[27]
Symposium: Destroying Radical Icons: Mexican Muralism and the New York Left.
Panel Discussion: Left, Left, Left, Right, Left: The Spanish Civil War and Visual Culture.
Symposium: In Conversation: Parviz Tanavoli and Lynn Gumpert, Director, Grey Art Gallery, NYU.
Program: Voice of the Artist: Lorraine O'Grady.
French Art from NYU's Collection, a companion exhibition.[45]
Gallery Programs: Conversations, Fluxus Amongst Us: Insight and Transformation in Fluxus Encounters.
Public programs series: The Geometry of Hope: Abstraction as Cultural Expression, a Campus-wide Initiative.




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Coordinates: 40°43′50″N 73°59′58″W / 40.7305°N 73.9995°W / 40.7305; -73.9995

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