Maureen Paley

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Maureen Paley
Born1953 (age 69–70)

Maureen Paley (born 1953[1]) is the American owner of a contemporary art gallery in Bethnal Green, London, where she lives. It was founded in 1984, called Interim Art during the 1990s, and renamed Maureen Paley in 2004. She exhibited Young British Artists at an early stage.[2] Artists represented include Turner Prize winners Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Gillian Wearing and Wolfgang Tillmans. One thing in common with many of the artists represented is their interest in addressing social issues.[3]

The gallery is located at 60 Three Colts Lane.[4] Maureen Paley opened a space in Hove called Morena di Luna in 2017 [5] and in 2021 opened Studio M at Rochelle School in Shoreditch.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Cover of Summer 1973 edition of Sarah Lawrence Magazine with artwork by Paley

Maureen Paley was born in New York. She attended Sarah Lawrence College, and graduated from Brown University[1] in 1975. She emigrated to England in 1977, attending the Royal College of Art from 1978 to 1980, where she gained an MA in photography.[7]



Bethnal Green, the area where Maureen Paley has her gallery.

In 1984, Paley began a gallery programme in her Victorian terraced house.[8] During the late 1980s, she exhibited examples of contemporary art by Tim Rollins and K.O.S., Sarah Charlesworth, Charles Ray, Mike Kelley, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Günther Förg.[9]


In the early 1990s, the gallery presented several exhibitions made by the burgeoning group of artists that were to become known as the YBAs—including, Henry Bond, Angela Bulloch and Liam Gillick.[2][10] For years she developed the careers of Gillian Wearing and Wolfgang Tillmans.[11]

She was called by Time Out "a true pioneer of the East End", having presented work there before it was fashionable.[12][13] For almost a decade, the gallery was supported by Arts Council grants and other patronage.[14]

In September 1999, the gallery moved to Herald Street in Bethnal Green,[15] occupying "a chic new industrial space."[11] Paley's base in the area was a precedent for leading galleries such as White Cube and Victoria Miro to also locate in the East End."[11]

Curated exhibitions

In 1994, Paley curated a show at Camden Arts Centre of work by Joseph Kosuth, Ad Reinhardt and Félix González-Torres.[15] In 1995, she presented Wall to Wall featuring wall drawings by artists including Daniel Buren, Michael Craig-Martin, Douglas Gordon, Barbara Kruger, Sol LeWitt, and Lawrence Weiner.[15] The National Touring Exhibitions show went to the Serpentine Gallery, London, Southampton City Art Gallery, and Leeds City Art Gallery.[15] In 1996, for the Henry Moore Sculpture Trust, Paley curated The Cauldron, an exhibition of work by Young British Artists—Christine Borland, Angela Bulloch, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Steven Pippin, Georgina Starr and Gillian Wearing.[15] It was installed in the Trust's studio space in Dean Clough, Halifax.[15]


In 2000, Paley staged The Agony and the Ecstasy, the first show of Rebecca Warren, who she met after Paley had given a talk at her art school.[16]

She said in 2001, "Being a tastemaker—someone who invents the future—requires a delicate balance. You need to be of your time—if you're too far ahead you'll be misunderstood."[11]

In 2004, the gallery's name was changed from Interim Art to Maureen Paley. In 2006, when asked why many women have been successful in contemporary art dealing, Paley said,

Art is one of the last unregulated markets. There are no male gatekeepers and you are not confined to traditional alpha-male values. That makes it very attractive to a certain type of woman with a strong personality, who wouldn't fit into a cookie-cutter working environment [...].[17]

The Turner Prize winner Wolfgang Tillmans, represented by Maureen Paley

Paley was one of the judges of New Sensations, a competition for art students promoted by Channel 4 and the Saatchi Gallery.[18] Jo Craven said in The Daily Telegraph that Paley was one of only five female gallery owners of note in London.[19]

In August 2009, reflecting on the legacy of the YBA art scene, Paley said, "The thing that came out of the YBA generation was boldness, a belief that you can do anything."[20]

In 2009, Paley was elected to the executive committee of the Society of London Art Dealers.[21]


In 2010, Paley was one of a group of art dealers including Sadie Coles who made up the selection committee for the Frieze Art Fair.[22] The gallery also takes part in Condo, an exhibition series where host galleries collaborate and share their spaces with visiting galleries.[3]

Paley was interviewed for the Art Agency, Partners podcast In Other Words[23] in 2020 and an episode ofTalk Art[24] in 2022. In 2023, she was invited to deliver the 15th annual Dasha Shenkman Lecture in Contemporary Art at the University of Guelph, Canada.[25]


Maureen Paley represents numerous living artists, including:

In addition, the gallery manages various artist estates, including:

Other activities[edit]

Paley supports the programmes of Artists Space, Creative Industries Federation, Open School East, Serpentine Gallery, The Showroom, Studio Voltaire, and White Columns. She is also a patron of Camden Arts Centre, Chisenhale Gallery, ICA, London, Michael Clark Company, South London Gallery, Tate, Artangel, the Whitechapel Gallery, Charleston, Peer, and Pallant House Galley, as well as a supporter of the Gallery Climate Coalition (GCC).[28][29][30][31]


The Evening Standard included Paley in London's 50 most influential people in art and design in 2008 and 2009.[32][33]

In 2009, Paley was placed at 87 (from 70 the previous year) in ArtReview's art world Power 100 list;[34] the citation drew attention to the presence of gallery artists at major events, such as Rebecca Warren at the Serpentine Gallery and Wolfgang Tillmans at the Venice Biennale.

In 2022, the gallery was listed as one of the '15 best art galleries in London.'[35]


  1. ^ a b Sleeman, Elizabeth (ed.) The International Who's Who of Women (London and New York: Routledge, 2002), p. 431. Entry on Paley available as snippet view here
  2. ^ a b Renton, Andrew. "Museum wannabes", Evening Standard: London, p47, 23 April 2002. "In her Hackney living room, Maureen Paley showed the Young British Artists when they were even Younger"
  3. ^ a b "Maureen Paley". Ocula. 31 December 2022.
  4. ^ "Maureen Paley – The Society Of London Art Dealers". Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  5. ^ "Maureen Paley: A Trailblazing Gallerist". 12 November 2020. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  6. ^ "Anne Hardy: Rising Heat, Maureen Paley: 'A piece of waste becomes a diaphanous pink ghost'". Hackney Citizen. 22 April 2021. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  7. ^ Camblin, Victoria. "Maureen Paley: London Borough of Tower Hamlets," 032c magazine, Summer 2009
  8. ^ Ward, Ossian. "The Rise of the East End art scene", Time Out, 1 May 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
  9. ^ Deepwell, Katy. New Feminist Art Criticism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995), p. 97.
  10. ^ Paley, Maureen (ed.) On: Henry Bond, Angela Bulloch, Liam Gillick, Graham Gussin, Markus Hansen (London and Plymouth: Interim Art/Plymouth Arts Centre, 1992), no ISBN but details online here
  11. ^ a b c d "The gallery owner", Evening Standard, 17 December 2001. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
  12. ^ Maureen Paley, 21 Herald St, London, E2 6JT, Time Out, London
  13. ^ Maureen Paley, File magazine, 15 October 2009
  14. ^ Burns, Charlotte (12 March 2020). "Transcript #76 The Magical Maureen Paley". Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  15. ^ Barnett, Laura. "Portrait of the artist: Rebecca Warren, sculptor, The Guardian, 7 April 2009.
  16. ^ Rawsthorn, Alice. "Space Women", The Guardian, 12 October 2006.
  17. ^ "Artnet news", Artnet, 17 July 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
  18. ^ Craven, Jo. "Pilar Corias", The Daily Telegraph, 12 October 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
  19. ^ Hannah Duguid, "Women at work: As the older generation of YBAs grows up, a new set of female creators is taking over" The Independent, 28 August 2009.
  20. ^ Society of London Art Dealers website, 18 August 2010.
  21. ^ "About" Archived 25 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Frieze Art Fair. Retrieved 14 August 2010. Archived on Webcitation.
  22. ^ Burns, Charlotte. "In Other Words #76: The Magical Maureen Paley". Soundcloud. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  23. ^ Maureen Paley | Talk Art, retrieved 3 May 2023
  24. ^ "Dasha Shenkman Lecture In Contemporary Art Series | College of Arts". Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  25. ^ Hannah Starkey, Maureen Paley, London, Financial Times Visual Arts, June 15, 2010
  26. ^ Alex Greenberger (27 December 2017), Tim Rollins, Artist and Activist Whose Work Thrived on Collaboration, Dies at 62 ARTnews.
  27. ^ Whitechapel Art Gallery Patrons. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  28. ^ Chisenhale Patrons. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  29. ^ Camden Arts Centre Patrons Archived 22 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  30. ^ Harris, Gareth (13 October 2021). "Taking a stand: climate crisis tops agenda as Frieze London returns". The Art Newspaper. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  31. ^ Art & Design, part of "Influentials: The 1000", Evening Standard, 8 October 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2010
  32. ^ The One Thousand - Art & Design, Evening Standard, 30 November 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
  33. ^ [1]"87. Maureen Paley", ArtReview, 2009. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  34. ^ "15 BEST ART GALLERIES IN LONDON". opumo. 24 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.

External links[edit]