Grey Art Gallery, NYU
The Grey Art Gallery is New York University’s fine arts museum, located on historic Washington Square Park in New York City’s Greenwich Village. As a university art museum, the Grey Art Gallery functions to collect, preserve, study, document, interpret, and exhibit the evidence of human culture. While these goals are common to all museums, the Grey distinguishes itself by emphasizing art’s historical, cultural, and social contexts, with experimentation and interpretation as integral parts of programmatic planning. Thus, in addition to being a place to view the objects of material culture, the Gallery serves as a museum-laboratory in which a broader view of an object’s environment enriches our understanding of its contribution to civilization.
The Grey Art Gallery is located within New York University’s Silver Center–the site of NYU’s original home, the legendary University Building (1835 to 1892). Winslow Homer, Daniel Huntington, Samuel Colt, George Innes, and Henry James all lived and worked there, as did Professor Samuel F. B. Morse, who established the first academic fine arts department in America on the site now occupied by the Grey Art Gallery.
Demolished in 1892, the original building was replaced by the Main Building (renamed the Silver Center in 2002). Here was located, from 1927 to 1942, A. E. Gallatin’s Museum of Living Art, NYU’s first art museum and the first institution in this country to exhibit work by Picasso, Léger, Mirò, Mondrian, Arp and members of the American Abstract Artists group. Gallatin aspired to create a forum for intellectual exchange, a place where artists would congregate to acquaint themselves with the latest developments in contemporary art. In 1975, with a generous gift from Mrs. Abby Weed Grey, the Museum’s original space was renovated, offices and a collection storage facility were added, and the doors were reopened as the Grey Art Gallery.
Exhibitions organized by the Grey Art Gallery encompass aspects of all the visual arts: painting, sculpture, drawing and printmaking, photography, architecture and decorative arts, video, film, and performance. In addition to originating its own exhibitions, some of which travel throughout the United States and abroad, the Gallery hosts traveling exhibitions.
Award-winning scholarly publications, distributed worldwide, are published by the Grey Art Gallery. In conjunction with its exhibitions, the Grey also sponsors public programs, including lectures, symposia, panel discussions, and films.