After cutting her teeth at Andrew Edlin gallery and Marlborough Contemporary, Terese Reyes decamped from New York to start her own gallery in early 2017.
She launched her gallery, Reyes Projects, in Birmingham, Michigan, just outside of Detroit, and set out to make a mark on the area just as her aunt, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit founder Julia Reyes Taubman, had done a generation prior.
Now, in further pursuit of that goal, Reyes is partnering with another New York-transplant: Bridget Finn.
Their gallery, re-branded as Reyes | Finn, is also moving to a 4,600-square-foot corner building in downtown Detroit, formerly a youth community athletics center. The dealers will maintain the space’s current character, eschewing the staid white cube in favor of 24-foot ceilings, 10-foot windows, and crown plaster moldings.
The new space will open March 15 with a group exhibition by artists Eddie Martinez, Gerasimos Floratos, and Rafael Delacruz.
Finn, who grew up outside Detroit, first joined Reyes’s gallery as Managing Director in fall 2017, and has overseen about a dozen shows since. She also worked her way through New York galleries—including, most recently, Mitchell-Innes & Nash—before departing for Michigan.
“At the time, a friend of mine said to me, ‘Most people don’t talk about where they’re from as much as you talk about Detroit,’” Finn tells artnet News. “That was a cementing comment in my decision to move. He’s right— this place has such a hard pull on you.”
Detroit’s resurgent energy, especially within its growing art community, was another big factor in Reyes’s and Finn’s decision to move to the city.
“In my experience, Detroit was very much the same for most of my life. It was preserved in this way it was,” Finn says. “[But] it’s been changing slowly for many years now, and in the last three years alone, parts of it have become nearly unrecognizable. For us, it’s exciting to have the opportunity to be present and participate in the positive aspects of the big change.”
So is the move an indictment of the New York art world? Both gallerists mentioned that New York wasn’t the same as when they began their careers, and that anxiety among dealers was growing amid the increasing stratification between blue-chip galleries and everyone else.
“I think it occupies a certain amount of head space for any art dealer, the fact that galleries keep getting bigger,” Finn says. “It’s something you must confront working in art in New York. While there are all these strong emerging and mid-level galleries, and there are also the really big boys who are growing rapidly in terms of artists rosters and real-estate. I’m not sure how that dynamic will evolve over time.”
“For us, being able to work with Detroit-based artists and bringing them into a national context, to place their work in the city and beyond, is extremely important,” Finn says, noting that the gallery also hopes to bring internationally recognized artists to Detroit.
“We’re trying to preserve what’s special about what we do as an art gallery,” she says. “That’s incredibly important to us and we want to bring that conversation to a city and a state that we both care very much about.”
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