Sandra Gehring Gallery

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Project Type: Art Gallery Renovation

Location: Chelsea, New York, New York

Phase: Built

Year: Completed in 2001

Size: 650 sq.ft.

Related Works:Young European Architects

The Sandra Gering Gallery is a 650 square foot space located in the heart of Chelsea’s art gallery district. Contrary to the prevailing minimal aesthetic of the galleries in the neighborhood, a different language is deliberately used to create a versatile small-scale exhibition space. The spatial geometry is carefully constructed to animate the effect of scalar oscillation between a frame for art and space of architecture. This design strives to question a tradition of neutrality defined by the internalized white cube as a norm for showing art. Exercising the pragmatics of art curating into specific performative geometry, the lighting fields, programmatic requirements for art placement, gallery office and storage are used as a constraint series for spatial organization and visual layering.  Addition rather than subtraction is used to generate an illusion of expansion. The space is not stripped into its default state. By means of apparent artificiality the walls and ceiling are articulated to create pseudo-grandeur. It is the intention that from the street level the architecture entices; it draws you in, yet once inside the same architecture becomes peripheral.  Paradoxically a ceiling volume inserted into a confined space, does not make it look smaller. By the vertically progressive nature of the faceted planes and the articulation of the edge the eye is directed to wander and imagine beyond, which generates an extension of the field of perception. Thus instead of producing a lowering effect the ceiling planes soar into a greater height while emphasizing the importance of the walls as a container for art.  The hope is that the experience of the art will be enhanced by the experience of the architecture.

Project Principal & Designer: Dana Cupkova © DCm-STUDIO, LLC | Support Team: Martin Meyers, Luben Dimcheff | General Contractor: Gerry O’Dowd | Lighting Consultant: Christine Sciulli


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The archetypal gallery of today acts like the heavy baroque frames that surround paintings of the pre-modernist era. It is telling us that we are looking at important art. Even the minimal frame on a Mondrian is not neutral; it conveys and alters its meaning. The frame or its alleged absence effects the way that we see an artwork. This gallery embraces the notion of effective spatial frame and doesn’t try to render its presence into neutral state. Such concept resets the rigidity of the frame. The frame is not static: it oscillates. It is not absolute but instead always changing and fluid. It animates the experience of viewing in time through the shifting frame sets.


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