In the early 1970s when most London art venues were just franchises of the New York-based galleries, painter Nigel Greenwood opened up a new space on the upper floor of his home that will soon become the epicenter of European contemporary art. The new gallery soon become one of the hottest and most perceptive venues in London that embraced fresh and talented artists and launched the careers of noted art figures like Bernd and Hilla Becher, John Walker and Keith Milow. During the 20 years of its existence, Nigel Greenwood gallery changed locations and venues, but its contribution to contemporary art remained intact. This summer, CHELSEA space gallery looks back on Nigel Greenwood Inc Ltd legacy by organizing an exhibition of photographs documenting its development. The exhibition entitled Nigel Greenwood Inc Ltd: running a Picture Gallery will present an array of never-before-seen images that document the celebrated gallery's landmark shows and publications.
Painter, art dealer, and a curator Nigel Greenwood opened up a gallery presenting cutting edge contemporary art when it was neither fashionable nor lucrative. The gallery was open for innovators and presented some of the most interesting groundbreaking artists of the time. The great supporter of Conceptual art, Nigel Greenwood was one of the first to host now legendary Underneath the Arches piece performed by Gilbert&George. Two artists stood for hours in the gallery in Glebe Place in Chelsea and sung the Flanagan and Allen standard, an ode to both prewar England and social inequalities. Nigel Greenwood gallery was also one of the first to present Ed Ruscha artists’ books to the British crowd. Nigel Greenwood appreciation for the written word continued in the years to come and in 1971 the gallerist opened a highly relevant Nigel Greenwood Inc Ltd bookshop that published large editions of various artists' books. Finally, in 1972, the gallery hosted the seminal exhibition Book as Artwork group show that contained numerous books written by artists.
The Nigel Greenwood Inc Ltd: running a Picture Gallery show will present a series of photographs that will explore the atmosphere of a place that was simultaneously an art venue and a home for both its owner and a group of exceptional artists, friends, and colleagues. The exhibition will be accompanied by several workshops that will highlight the importance of the gallery for art students, including the recreation of a wall drawing by Joel Fisher the Apograph at the gallery space. Both art school in Chelsea and the Royal College were located in the proximity of the gallery in the 1970s and 1980s and their student were frequent visitors to the space that, in many ways shaped their informal education. Additionally, artist Marc Camille Chaimowicz will revisit his 1979 exhibition entitled Screens, by employing original artifacts from the gallery and his home.
From images of iconic exhibitions to everyday chores of gallery owners Nigel Greenwood Inc Ltd: running a Picture Gallery show powerfully portrays what's its like to own a gallery in London. The show at CHELSEA space will be accompanied by a richly illustrated publication edited by Phoebe Greenwood, that will feature original contributions from artist Gilbert&George, Lynda Morris, Richard Cork, Ed Ruscha and Kynaston McShine. The exhibition will be on view from June 8th until July 15th, 2016 at CHELSEA space in London.
Editor's Tip : A journey through contemporary art with Nigel Greenwood
In 1985, Nigel Greenwood organized a Hayward Annual exhibition, as the only art dealer ever to be asked to do so. The exhibition aimed to reestablish the important roles of photographers and ceramic artists in the fine art arena and included works by Francis Bacon, Henry Moore, and a more recent artists like Gilbert&George and Richard Long. The show was accompanied by this majestic catalog that contains numerous postcard-size images of the acclaimed artists' works accompanied by their biographies. Nigel Greenwood has always had a soft spot for written publications like these which he saw as a way of placing artworks in the hands of an audience that could not afford to purchase an original. Whether you can afford a unique work of art or not make sure to read this publication and explore the art world from the angle of one of the finest art dealers and curators Great Britain ever had.
Featured images : Gallery visitors watching Gilbert and George performing Underneath the Arches, 'A Singing Sculpture'. 60 Glebe Place, 1970 ; Group show In the Study with Marc Camille Chaimowicz and Ian McKeever, 1976. Nigel Greenwood Inc Ltd, 41 Sloane Gardens, London ; Keith Milow, Nigel Greenwood and Judy Greenwood. Nigel Greenwood Inc Ltd, 60 Glebe Place, 1970 ; All images courtesy of © The Nigel Greenwood Gallery Archive, Tate Archive, London.