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McKee Gallery to Close, Citing Changing Art World

Charlotte Burns reports in the Art Newspaper that the McKee Gallery on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan will close by the end of August after forty-one years in business.

David McKee and Renee Conforte McKee, the founders and codirectors of the gallery, have decided not to renew their current lease on their space and said in a statement that “the art market has grown so vast that our gallery model is in danger: The collector’s private experience with art matters much less, as the social circus of art fairs, auctions, dinners, and spectacle grows...the value of art is now perceived as its monetary value. The art world has become a stressful, unhealthy place; its focus on fashion, brands, and economics robs it of the great art experience, of connoisseurship, and of trust.”

The gallery opened in 1974 with an exhibition of figurative paintings by Philip Guston in a former beauty salon at the Barbizon Hotel for Women on Lexington Avenue and Sixty-third Street. The gallery represents such artists as Vija Celmins, Richard Learoyd, and Daisy Youngblood and works with artists’ estates including those of Philip Guston and Harvey Quaytman.