Lewis, with paintings by Lucy Dodd.
Lewis, with paintings by Lucy Dodd.

For almost a year before he settled into a 2,000-square-foot space on the fifth floor of 88 Eldridge Street last fall, David Lewis was a gallerist without a gallery. In early 2013 he parted ways with Balice Hertling, the Paris gallery he had partnered with to open a Manhattan outpost in 2011. During what he likes to call his “nomadic” period, the 38-year-old former art critic kept up a running conversation with artists, curators, and collectors in cafés and bars, and staged pop-up shows like Lucy Dodd’s exhibition at Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld’s gallery on the Upper East Side. “For me, the experience clarified that a gallery can really be anything,” Lewis explains. “The white cube isn’t the be-all end-all—even if I have one now.” The first solo exhibition at said cube was an earthy bazaar of sculptures, furniture, drawings, and abstract paintings by Dodd. The show received ecstatic reviews, but Lewis is just as happy to talk about the spirited food fight that was part of a performance at the opening. “That energy is invigorating,” says Lewis, who will debut a performance piece by Dawn Kasper this month. His goal, he adds, is to import some of the happy chaos of his transient months. “I want to make sure that the gallery doesn’t ossify into a box with art.”

David Lewis’s gallery. Photograph by Biel Parklee.