Grey Art Museum Opening

By Brian J Pape, AIA, LEED-AP

GREY ART MUSEUM IN COOPER SQUARE is set for completion in early 2024. Photo by Brian J. Pape, AIA.

New York University has announced the relocation, renaming, and future opening of the Grey Art Museum. Formerly the Grey Art Gallery at Washington Square East on NYU’s campus, now closed, it will reopen as the Grey Art Museum at 18 Cooper Square, adjacent to Cooper Union’s main campus buildings. The Grey—named in honor of art patron and collector Abby Weed Grey—was inaugurated in 1975. Although it has always acted as NYU’s art museum, its title was misleading for some.

The facilities inside the historic NoHo building were designed by Ennead Architects and will highlight the ground floor Cottrell-Lovett Gallery and the Cottrell-Lovett Study Center, named for donors Dr. James Cottrell and Mr. Joseph Lovett, and expanded art storage on the lower level.

Grey Art Gallery Director Lynn Gumpert notes, “We are thrilled to move to a space immediately adjacent to 20 Cooper Square, which houses many of NYU’s provostial centers and institutes.”

Grey Art Museum in Cooper Square is set for completion in early 2024. Its inaugural exhibition will be Americans in Paris: Artists Working in Postwar France, 1946–1962, which is set to be the “first scholarly overview of the expatriate art scene in Paris after World War II.” 

When I visited the new location, I discovered that the large, multi-tenant building had another art gallery already operating at 20 Cooper Square. Inside the glass storefront is the Center for Black Visual Culture at NYU, and it is hosting its first curated exhibit, which opened on September 7, 2023. “Rest Is Power” is the title of the display of photographs, painting, and new media that explore the concept of rest, according to their press release. One display quotes Cyd Charisse Fulton: “Rest is Power. Bodies are not meant to bathe bent in brutality. Ancestors sacrificed solace; a place to relax in natural freedom. Bodies are not meant to overwork. Rest is liberation. Replenish spiritually, mentally and physically. Self-care is satin strength.”

Artists Tyler Mitchell, Alison Janae Hamilton, Daveed Baptiste, Gordon Parks, Carrie Mae Weems, Colette Veasey-Cullors, Cornelius Tulloch, Chester Higgins, Lola Flash, Kennedi Carter, Jeffrey Henson Scales, and Adama Delphine Fawundu are represented here. Curators Joan Morgan, Kira Joy Williams and Deborah Willis will view this free-to-the-public show until October 20, 2023.