Boradway 1602's locations on the Upper East Side and East Harlem.

New York’s Broadway 1602 Closes

Broadway 1602, an experimental gallery in New York known for exhibiting underecognized artists since its opening in 2005, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and is closing, according to Artnews. For twelve years, the gallery was dedicated to showing female artists of the avant-garde from the 1960s and 1970s, representing Marjorie Strider, Rosemarie Castoro, Idelle Weber, and Lydia Okumura, among others. Founded by curator and critic Anke Kempkes, Broadway 1602 also presented works by emerging contemporary artists from around the world.   

Bankruptcy documents show that the gallery’s revenue decreased from nearly $1.2 million in 2016 to around $600,000 last year, a loss of almost 50 percent. The list of creditors includes Hal Bromm, a TriBeCa art dealer who sued Kempkes and the gallery last summer, claiming he was not paid commission on the sale of a piece by Castoro, who died in 2015. About the allegation, Kempkes said that Bromm had helped foster Castoro’s legacy and that she hoped the matter would be resolved soon. The documents also show debts to artists and artists’ estates, including $102,900 to relatives of the late artist Xanti Schawinsky, whom the gallery has represented since 2015. 

“New York used to be a place where independent and individual business models could strive and find immediate reward and evaluation,” Kempkes wrote in an email to Artnews. “Today we look at a very changed landscape, in which such initiatives are suffocated by gentrification and a rather generic form of competition that often takes too high a toll on people’s life quality and vision.” Kempkes also criticized noncompetitive prices at auction houses and a younger generation unwilling to commit to philanthropic efforts regarding traditional institutions.

The gallery originally opened on Broadway and Twenty-Eighth Street in Manhattan and moved to the Upper East Side in early 2016. Kempkes opened a gallery complex in East Harlem at the same time. Broadway 1602’s shuttering marks the latest in a spate of small and midsize gallery closures over the past few years, including Envoy Enterprises and Off Vendome last summer.