Gagosian to Leave Historic Madison Avenue Space Amid New York Real Estate Upheaval

Even Gagosian, one of the most powerful art-gallery enterprises in the world, with locations across three continents, is liable to the whims of a New York landlord.

Per a report in Artnet News, RFR Holdings, which owns 980 Madison Avenue, home to one of Gagosian’s six New York locations, has proposed leasing 85 percent of its space to Bloomberg Philanthropies. The lease would expire on July 31, 2053, filings related to the building’s mortgages reveal. Bloomberg Philanthropies, the philanthropic arm of billionaire Michael Bloomberg, would accrue $21 million in annual rent, the filings also report.

Bloomberg’s foundation would assume control at the end of the current lease period and would occupy 70 percent of the building by the end of 2025.

980 Madison is itself architectural landmark, made famous by the soaring e 16-foot-wide Venus sculpture guarding its front doors. It was built in 1949 for Parke-Bernet Galleries, a seminal auction house which folded into Sotheby’s in 1964 and is credited with attracting other galleries to Manhattan’s Upper East Side, making it a blue-chip art hub. Other longtime art occupants of the building include Nahmad Contemporary.

Gagosian leased a small office there in 1987, gradually growing into it a multi-floor operation that now spans nearly half the entire building. Its first show there, “Jasper Johns: The Maps,” opened in February 1989; more recent programming has included shows dedicated to Cy Twombly, Donald Judd, and Cecily Brown.

The building “has been our uptown home since 1987, so obviously this will take some adjustment, but I am happy to say that we are in the process of securing a great new location in the neighborhood,” Larry Gagosian told Artnet News.