Ivan Karp

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Ivan Karp
Born(1926-06-04)June 4, 1926
Bronx, New York City
DiedJune 28, 2012(2012-06-28) (aged 86)
OccupationArt dealer, antiquarian
Years active1958-2012
Known forOK Harris Gallery

Ivan C. Karp (June 4, 1926 – June 28, 2012) was an American art dealer, gallerist and author instrumental in the emergence of pop art and the development of Manhattan's SoHo gallery district in the 1960s.[1]

Ivan Karp was born in the Bronx and grew up in Brooklyn. His career in art began in 1955, when he served as the first art critic of the Village Voice.[2] In 1956, he joined the Hansa Gallery, a downtown artists' cooperative gallery that had moved uptown to Central Park South. Karp was co-director, alongside Richard Bellamy, who later founded the Green Gallery.[3] He moved to the relatively new Leo Castelli Gallery in 1959 as associate director. While there, he helped sell the works of, popularize and market the initial generation of Pop artists, including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg.[1]

Karp worked with Castelli for ten years, leaving in 1969 to open the OK Harris Gallery in SoHo, Manhattan. Karp's was the second art gallery to open on West Broadway, which ultimately became the core of the SoHo gallery district.[4] His initial focus at O.K. Harris was on Photorealism, with artists such as Robert Cottingham and Robert Bechtle. Other artists represented by the gallery included Deborah Butterfield, Malcolm Morley and Duane Hanson.[5]

In the early 1960s, Karp led efforts to salvage architectural ornament from older New York City buildings that were being demolished for new construction. He founded the Anonymous Arts Recovery Society and often drove around the streets of Manhattan and the Bronx spotting and collecting materials from building sites before they could be carted away as rubble.[6] Many of the hundreds of items recovered by Karp and his colleagues were deposited in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, displayed in the sculpture garden and the subway station adjacent to the museum.[7] The Brooklyn Museum transferred 1500 architectural artifacts to the National Building Arts Center, located in Sauget, Illinois. Others are housed in the Anonymous Arts Museum Karp founded in Charlotteville, New York.[8]

Karp wrote a 1965 comic novel, "Doobie Doo", about love among pop artists with cover art by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.[5] He died on June 28, 2012 at the age of 86, in Charlotteville, New York.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Martin, Douglas (29 June 2012). "Ivan Karp, Pop Art Dealer, Dies at 86". New York Times.
  2. ^ Sims, Patterson (Spring 2013). "Ivan Karp (1926-2012)". American Art: 104–107. ISSN 1073-9300.
  3. ^ Stein, Judith (2016). Eye of the Sixties: Richard Bellamy and the Transformation of Modern Art. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. pp. 64–65. ISBN 9780374151324. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Soho's OK Harris Gallery Will Close". New York Observer. 20 January 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Historical Note: Ivan C. Karp papers and OK Harris Works of Art gallery records, 1960-2014". Archives of American Art. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Anonymous Arts". The New Yorker. November 14, 1964. pp. 49–51. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  7. ^ Gill, John Freeman (June 2010). "Ghosts of New York". The Atlantic. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  8. ^ Barron, James (May 5, 2017). "A Rural Shrine to New York's Angels and Gargoyles". New York Times. Retrieved 20 October 2017.

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