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The Duo Behind 47 Canal Gallery Curate A Dream Library Of Art Books

The print edition of The Window (available now in Barneys New York stores) is filled with stories of travel, food, design, architecture, and, of course, art—all of which influence the fashion we love. Enjoy this original feature from the first issue below, as well as Margaret and Oliver’s exclusive edit of beautiful art books—winning additions to any library.

JK_ProBio install_1
Josh Kline, ProBio, MoMA PS 1, New York. Courtesy of 47 Canal.

Margaret Lee and Oliver Newton are the owners of 47 Canal, a contemporary gallery located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The sixteen artists the couple represents specialize in complex installations that address such “difficult” topics as brand tyranny, outsourcing, and bioengineering. Those looking for to think outside the frame—this is the place for you.

Anicka Yi’s Washing Away of Wrongs is two washing machine doors that release a surge of scent when opened. Josh Kline’s huge FedEx boxes are filled with 3-D-printed packing peanuts in the form of a real-life FedEx delivery man’s head. The resin mannequin of Stewart Uoo’s No Sex, No City: Charlotte III has a ripped–open torso stuffed with razor wire. Lee—a widely exhibited artist in her own right—affixes hand-painted plaster fruits and vegetables to quotidian objects: a cucumber to a telephone, a banana to a footstool.

“Margaret and Oliver program their gallery as if it were an artwork in and of itself,” says Christopher Lew, associate curator at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art. “The artists they present point toward the future, suggesting how culture engages broader social issues.”

Works by Lee, Kline, Yi, and Uoo are included in the Rubell Family Collection in Miami. For co-founder Mera Rubell, 47 Canal is a throwback to seventies gallery life, before the “I’ll-take-that-and-wrap-it” culture of collecting took hold. “Back then you’d sit around with the gallerists and talk about art for hours,” says Rubell. “That still happens with Margaret and Oliver. The fact that she’s an artist herself, plus the extremely personal rapports they have with the people they show, makes them uniquely exceptional.” Beau Rutland made the same discovery while acquiring Yi’s washer doors for the Cleveland Museum of Art, where he is assistant curator of contemporary art. “With 47 Canal it’s always, What is best for the artist?” says Rutland. “I’ve always admired that they stand by their discoveries and don’t look for bigger names to up the gallery’s profile.”

By Christopher Petkanas.

47 Canal
91 Grand Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10002

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