The Last Picture Show for Fotografiska

“Vivian Maier: Unseen Work” will be the final show at the six-story Flemish Renaissance Revival building that Fotografiska New York has occupied since opening at the end of 2019.

“It’s a very beautiful building, but everything has to be in tandem to work,” said Sophie Wright, the private museum’s executive director. “We’ve been having ongoing challenges with regard to the exhibition spaces. The verticality of that building is not easy to manage. Our audience has been given a bumpy experience.”

The jewel box edifice, which opened in 1894 as an Episcopal Church mission, has been put on the market by RFR, the real-estate firm co-founded by Aby Rosen and Michael Fuchs. But Wright said that the possibility of a sale did not lead Fotografiska to end the 15-year lease midway.

“There was a guarantee that it wouldn’t affect our situation,” she said. Instead, it was the desire for more display room in a horizontal configuration and larger rooms for programs and parties.

Fotografiska, which was started in Stockholm in 2010, has other satellites in Berlin, Shanghai and Tallinn, Estonia. It is controlled by Yoram Roth, a Berlin-based investor and photographer. “We’re not a 501(c)(3), we’re a for-profit company, and we can move quickly,” she said.

According to Wright, the urgency for the move was the need to find an appropriate space for the show of photos of New York nightlife that will follow the Maier exhibition. “We need to have a building where we can do events and have big parties,” she said. That space will be temporary, because the institution is still looking for its next permanent New York home.

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