MacGregor Harp, an artist who founded a New York gallery that attracted a number of young up-and-comers before they achieved fame, has died at 41. He had been battling pancreatic cancer.
With Jesse Greenberg, Harp ran 247365, a gallery that opened in 2012 in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens neighborhood before relocating in 2015 to Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Its cutting-edge offerings had been closely watched by many in the New York scene.
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“He and I kept some of our day-job work during the first year. We put everything we earned right into it,” Greenberg told ARTnews. “Pretty much all profit went right back into the gallery.”
The gallery closed in 2017, but its short run helped launch the careers of many, including Jamian Juliano-Villani, SoiL Thornton, Walter Price, Ebecho Muslimova, Maia Ruth Lee, Dora Budor, Naama Tsabar, and Elizabeth Jaeger.
Many of the exhibitions that 247365 mounted were group shows — a risky exhibition format, given that it can often lead to unmemorable, unfocused results. But the group outings that 247365 mounted were typically high-quality, and they were staged in rapid succession, often lasting just a few weeks each. The posters for them were done by Harp, whose background was in graphic design.
“Neoteny,” from 2013, featured works by BFFA3AE, Josh Kline, and Jared Madere that suggested something poignant about the flow of imagery online. “Draw Gym,” which was organized by artist Brian Bellott that same year and done in collaboration with the gallery Know More Games, featured works on paper by 75 artists, including Gina Beavers, Josh Smith, and Sam Moyer.
“Drawing may seem slightly underground right now, but as usual, it is everywhere,” New York Times critic Roberta Smith wrote in her review of the exhibition.
The few solo exhibitions that 247365 mounted also evinced an outré quality. Becky Howland, an artist associated with ’80s New York whose work has rarely been shown since then, had a solo show that was spread across 247365 and Moiety gallery in 2016. Writing of the works Howland showed at the former space, David Frankel said in Artforum, “Since our picture of the Lower East Side art scene of those years has acquired a golden glow, I was glad to be reminded of her fountain in its derelict backyard, and of just how messy things were there then, and more than messy, actually tense and difficult.” One year later, Howland’s work was shown by British artist Mark Leckey at his MoMA PS1 retrospective.
Born in 1981, Harp said in an Artsy profile of the gallery from 2014 that, before he opened 247365 with Greenberg, he “got into curating through making and editing artist books.”
Harp had periodically exhibited his art as well, with appearances in group shows at Ryan Lee in New York and 247365. In 2014, in an exhibition at Freddy gallery in Baltimore whose subject was smoking, he showed paintings that abstracted cigarettes so that they appeared like confetti, emitting puffs of smoke as they rain down across a black background. Similar works also appeared in a 2014 show at Jackie Klempay gallery.
News of Harp’s cancer diagnosis had recently been made public by his father Douglas, who set up a GoFundMe campaign that was intended to raise money to pay for medical and living expenses. The GoFundMe description said that Harp had recently moved to Montreal, where he had gotten a job at a marketing firm. The GoFundMe’s goal had been $20,000; as of this time of writing, it has raised more than $57,000.
Greenberg said he grew apart from Harp once he left for Canada, but that 247365 remains a highlight from a New York art world that has now largely disappeared. “It was the proudest time of my life,” Greenberg said.