“We have decided to announce this difficult decision far in advance of our closing in order to give the artists we represent and our staff time to pursue other options and to allow us to participate in their transitions. We are extremely grateful to all of the brilliant artists we have worked with over the past 40 years and to our excellent staff, who have sustained the gallery and its program. We would also like to thank all of the critics, curators, collectors and fellow dealers with whom we have worked over the years.”
Through the statement above the founders/owners of Metro Pictures, Janelle Reiring and Helene Winer, after forty years history announced their decision to bring things to a close after this year’s programming. 2020 has been a demanding year of pandemic-driven programming, and the anticipated arrival of a very different art world. The decision marks another unexpected twisting to an art scene whose landscape is still transforming due to the ongoing pandemic that forces the art world to rewrite its vocabulary, rethinking the standard of the exhibition models. Since the beginning of the pandemic the founders had discussed about the future of the gallery and decided to call it quits, because reopening the gallery would have required different models, more energy and willpower in reinventing the gallery sector, but none of these coincide with their plans.
Founded in SoHo in 1980, Metro Pictures opened its doors with a group exhibition which featured works from artists Troy Brauntuch, Jack Goldstein, Sherrie Levine, Robert Longo, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, and James Welling. The gallery represented the core of many members of the Pictures Generation, as Cindy Sherman who has been exclusively represented by the gallery since its start.
Before joining with Reiring to open Metro Pictures, Winer was Director of the non-profit Artists Space in 1975, which hosted the seminal exhibition “Pictures” in 1977 – featuring the early work of Brauntuch, Goldstein, Levine, Longo, and Philip Smith. On its occasion, Flash Art published texts by Douglas Crimp and artists Thomas Lawson and David Salle, highlighting the birth of the new group of emerging postmodern artists shaped by Winer’s vision, who later came to be known as the Pictures Generation.