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303 Gallery was first established by owner and director Lisa Spellman in 1984 at 303 Park Avenue South, Manhattan, New York City. In addition to its address, the gallery name also references Alfred Stieglitz's "Intimate Gallery" artists-collaborative located in Room 303 of the Anderson Galleries building. In 2016, the gallery opened its new location at 555 West 21 Street, New York.
In 1986, Spellman's 303 Gallery moved to the East Village where she invited such artists as Christopher Wool and Robert Gober to curate artist projects and collaborations. In 1989, 303 Gallery's move to 89 Greene Street in Soho where Vito Acconci, Andreas Gursky, Larry Johnson, and Rirkrit Tiravanija had solo exhibitions. Also at the Greene Street location, Spellman initially exhibited Doug Aitken, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Rodney Graham, Karen Kilimnik, and Collier Schorr. In 1996, 303 Gallery was among the first galleries to move to Chelsea, opening at 525 West 22nd Street and subsequently moving to 547 West 21st Street in 2008, and then to 507 West 24th Street in 2013.
303inprint publishes limited edition artist's books, ephemera and other printed matter in collaboration with 303 gallery artists.
Robert Gober and Christopher Wool, April 15-May 8, 1988. A collaboration between the two artists, this exhibition displayed Christopher Wool's Apocalypse Now painting opposite Bob Gober’s sculpture Three Urinals - the first time either work was exhibited.
Karen Kilimnik, April 4-April 25, 1991. Kilimnik's first solo show featured several separate installations in the space, but with one leading into the next. They covered a variety of themes, ranging from suicide and drugs to schoolyard massacres to Napoleonic clashes.
Sue Williams, May 2 – May 30, 1992. Williams' first solo show at the gallery addressed female representation and domestic violence.
Rodney Graham: Vexation Island, November 1 – December 20, 1997. First exhibited at the Venice Biennale in the Canadian Pavilion, this piece was shown at 303 Gallery later the same year. A looping film where Graham, in character as a shipwrecked 18th-century sailor, is trapped in a cycle of getting knocked out by a fallen coconut, only to reawaken and begin shaking the tree all over again, continues to be a favorite piece for his fans.
Doug Aitken: “100 YRS", February 1 – March 30, 2013. Aitken's "100 YRS" closed 303 Gallery's 547 West 21st Street location. The show centered on Sonic Fountain where water dripped from 5 rods suspended from the ceiling, falling into a giant crater dug out of the gallery floor, underwater microphones amplifying the sound of the droplets. The show had a second installment, where performers staged a demolition of the space, using saws and drills like percussive instruments to cut apart the walls and pile up debris, altering the architecture even further.
Other important exhibitions throughout 303 Gallery's history include:
- John Dogg, 1987
- Dan Flavin, Robert Gober, Yves Klein, 1988
- One Leading to Another, 1992
- Vito Acconci, 1993
- Paul Bloodgood, 1996
- Alicja Kwade: I Rise Again, Changed But The Same, 2016
- "303". nymag.com. New York Entertainment. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
- "Lisa Spellman Is a National Treasure". Vulture. 2014-11-21. Retrieved 2018-09-12.
- Andrew Russeth (September 9, 2015), Bookish: On the Art World’s Publishing Boom ARTnews.
- "Six Shows That Shaped 303 Gallery - Features - Independent Art Fair". www.independenthq.com. Retrieved 2018-09-12.
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