McCaig-Welles Gallery Shuts Down

07.24.09 Will Sherman

queen-andreaMcCaig-Welles Gallery has announced that it is shutting its doors for good. Since its Williamsburg opening in late 2000, the gallery has stayed on the forefront of contemporary art, exhibiting both established as well as up and coming artists from the neighborhood and far beyond. In recent months the gallery has featured surrealist public painters, graffiti writers, renowned female urban artists, and a very sexy group show. Impacted by the depressed art market and economy, owner Melissa McCaig-Welles announced her decision in this email:

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that I am writing to you today with the unfortunate news that I have decided to close McCaig-Welles Gallery.

As many of you know, in 2000 we were one of the first galleries to establish ourselves in Williamsburg, contributing to what would become a burgeoning art community in Brooklyn and placed us on the global map. Since opening the doors, I have continued to focus on mid-career, cutting edge artists, exhibiting their works in solo and group shows and art fairs all over the world, thrilled that so many have been acclaimed by critics and fans alike. I have always put innovation and talent at the forefront of our programs, presenting artists recognized as pioneers of the new contemporary art movements, from surrealism to urban contemporary. It was this steadfast support of a powerful and undeniable movement that contributed to our incredible success over the years.

In 2008, my relocation to San Francisco brought about new opportunities for McCaig-Welles Gallery, but also unforeseen challenges. Experimental and satellite project spaces were made possible through new gallery partnerships, allowing our artists to exhibit bi-coastally. As we dedicated ourselves to expanding and developing these programs, cultivating new collectors and interest, an impending economic crisis followed our coattails, surmounted by devastating global financial reverberations.

As I have always been inspired by the power of the language of visual art in the world we inhabit, I focused my curatorial endeavors on what was culturally relevant. I allowed the gallery to become a sounding board for artists to respond to the somber economic and political climate in our February exhibition, “All That Glitters is Gold”. The title reflected what I saw happening to the economy in general and our gallery specifically. The downward financial spiral had affected us by then and this was an opportunity to have our artists express how the global meltdown was affecting them as well. It was an incredible exhibition and a testament to McCaig-Welles Gallery’s commitment to always giving our artists a voice to the masses.

Simultaneously during accelerating challenges and economic turmoil, I discovered another unexpected, yet delightful surprise – I was expecting another baby. Straddling the gallery on both coasts, with dwindling resources and circumstances out of my control – my ability to direct the future of the gallery were all at once at uncertain. The only certainty I knew was that I would be having another child. It is with this epiphany that I realized there is hope; through recession comes rebirth.

I was reminded that the gallery was not only my dream; it became a dream for a lot of other people involved and I had had a responsibility to do what would benefit my artists involved in the short and long term.

I’m excited to share with you the birth of Baby Oliver Wilder Welles. He was born on June 7th and is happy and healthy, an absolute joy. As my immediate family grows, I see my extended family of artists and patrons growing with me as we embark on the positive changes ahead. And I hope you do as well. Though I am closing my gallery doors in Williamsburg, I plan to continue projects with represented artists where I am based on the West Coast. Currently we have several projects already underway, the details of which will be announced later this summer or early fall.

I’d like to close by letting you know how truly appreciative I am for your support and continued enthusiasm over the years. I am especially grateful to the artists and staff I have had the pleasure to work so closely with:

Michael Welles, Lisa Goldberg, Helena Fang, Chris Ballantyne, Julie Vincent, R. Nicholas Kuszyk, Greg Haberny, Johnny Leo, David Kesting, Yasha Young, Tristan Eaton, Amy Hill, Molly Crabapple, Mare 139, Chris Smith/ Subtexture, Cope2, Ewok 5MH, Indie, Jen Props, Lance Turnbow, Logik, Filth/ Lucas Irwin, Faile, Mona Superhero, Queen Andrea, Rob Syrett, Ryder Robison, Sam Friedman, Jonny Fenix, Artem Mirolevich, Colin Burns, Craig Larotonda, Dalek, NYC Lase, Shepard Fairey, Doze Green, Dave Tree, David Hochbaum, Dave Ortiz, Deedee Cheriel, David Stoupakis, Eric Joyner, Goldmine Shithouse, Greg LaMarche/ SP One, Martha Cooper, Jad Fair, Joel Dugan, Joseph Whietely, Jason Douglas-Griffen, M. Mararian’s Inky Dreadfuls, Michael Alan, Wes Lang, Josh Lord, Sweety, Patrick Conlon, Keith Lang, Roman Klonek, Sean Taggart, Susan Ritter, Travis Lindquist, Stephanie Olszewski, Megan Hays, and many more.

Much love, Melissa McCaig-Welles

“Dynamo” by QUEEN ANDREA via McCaig-Welles Gallery