Clock strikes midnight on Downtown art gallery

A Downtown arts era ended Nov. 23, when the Clocktower Gallery at 108 Leonard St. closed after more than 40 years of continuous installations.

Since its founding in 1972 by Alanna Heiss, who also started the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA P.S. 1), the gallery was a home for transgressive and avant garde art.

Downtown Express photos by Milo Hess Visitors to the Clocktower Gallery Nov. 23rd took in the unique art space one last time before the gallery closed.

Downtown Express photos by Milo Hess
Visitors to the Clocktower Gallery Nov. 23rd took in the unique art space one last time before the gallery closed.

The city-owned 108 Leonard building is slated to be sold to a private developer, the Peebles Corporation, who now plans to put in luxury condos, a hotel and retail space at the site, along with a 16,000-square-foot community facility for public use.

The building — which also has an address of 346 Broadway — also formerly held the Manhattan Criminal Court offices that the city is now planning to move to 71 Thomas St., a proposal that is moving forward against backlash from some residents around that area.

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As for the future of the Clocktower Gallery, it will now exist in a somewhat nomadic state until a new permanent location can be found.

This month, the gallery is beginning a partnership with the Pioneer Works Center for Art and Innovation, and Clocktower will then move into the center’s Red Hook space for a year-long residency, while also renewing partnerships with other arts organizations throughout 2014.

“The Clocktower, the oldest alternative space in the city, will move in with Pioneer Works, one of the youngest alternative spaces in the city,” said Heiss, who remains the gallery’s director, in a statement released after the closure of 108 Leonard St. “Dustin Yellin [director of Pioneer Works] and I are thrilled to see our two institutions meet in this significant way.”

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— Sam Spokony

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