The Green Gallery
The Green Gallery is located on the lower east side—not of Manhattan, but of Milwaukee. “Right by the lake,” says John Riepenhoff, Green’s founder, who grew up in the area. Riepenhoff initially worked out of his attic before taking over the 1,200-square-foot space with his cousin Jake Palmert in 2009. (They now boast two satellite galleries, on the city’s west side and in residential Oak Park, Illinois.) Green shows a mix of New York artists like Spencer Sweeney, Margaret Lee, and José Lerma, as well as prominent Wisconsin natives like David Robbins, Michelle Grabner, and Paul Druecke. For Palmert and for Riepenhoff, who is also an artist, remoteness has become an asset. “There aren’t market expectations here, so that allows us to be more playful,” Riepenhoff says. “And people like to visit because we’re out of the way.”
Simon Cooper Cole’s reputation isn’t based on social pedigree or art-school connections but on the program at his modest three-year-old namesake gallery in Toronto: Native talents like Sara Cwynar and Jesse Harris have been doing blockbuster business at major art fairs. (Cwynar’s glitchy photographs flew out of his booth at the New Art Dealers Alliance [NADA] this past May.) His gallery has also become the home-team roost for some of the city’s most valuable exports, like Ryan Foerster. And when Cole’s out-of-town artists arrive in Toronto for the first time, they are often struck by the gallery’s hip Dundas West neighborhood. “A lot of people who live in New York come here,” he says. “And they’re like, ‘This is like the best parts of Brooklyn—without all the shitty people!’ ”
Lee Plested and Erik von Muller started out showing works by their friends and various artists they admired in the apartment they shared near Vancouver’s Vanier Park. But unlike your typical DIY gallery, theirs boasted names like John Baldessari, Lawrence Weiner, and Jen Stark. (Historic art went in the living room, contemporary art in the bedroom.) Although the two have since upgraded to a more traditional space, albeit in an area code that is often (wrongly) billed as the poorest in Canada, they’ve stuck to their curatorial vision—to pair veterans they feel may have been overlooked with stars who loom large in the art world. A recent show matched up the artist and White Columns director Matthew Higgs with Ian Wallace, a 71-year-old renowned in Canada but not abroad, who, like Higgs, uses existing images to critique mass media. “This all came out of showing our friends,” Plested says. “And we have some really good friends.”
Named for its initial location in an industrial neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, Fourteen30 Contemporary is now found in Goose Hollow, a stone’s throw from the city’s art-saturated Pearl District. “The gallery has always existed as a destination,” says Jeanine Jablonski, who founded Fourteen30 in 2008. The new digs, a pristine white space, aim to both ingratiate the emerging artists on the roster, like Mike Bray and Jesse Sugarmann, with a wider audience, and to provide visiting artists a place to experiment. Last year, Jablonski invited a string of rising stars, such as Conrad Ruiz and Andrea Longacre-White, to show just two pieces each, for two-week runs—anathema to Portland’s locavores but heaven for its art lovers.
David Petersen Gallery
With a slew of exhibitions by of-the-moment artists—among them, Joshua Abelow, Jessica Dickinson, and Rose Marcus—David Petersen Gallery would be at home among the dive bars of a fringe Berlin neighborhood. In fact, it’s just south of downtown Minneapolis, next to a tailor shop that accepts the gallery’s FedEx packages from time to time. “It’s kind of lonely,” says Petersen, only half-joking. But there is one nearby landmark: the Walker Art Center, which helps bring the art world to Petersen’s door and makes Minneapolis a -reputable cultural destination. Still—for now, at least—he enjoys a regional monopoly as a commercial gallery of emerging artists with an international scope: “I’m kind of the only game in town.”