The New York City gallery JTT will close its doors on August 11. Its current group exhibition Playscape, which centers humans’ navigation of artificially constructed environments, will be the gallery’s last.
JTT was founded by Jasmin Tsou in 2012. Her early roster included Borna Sammak, Becky Kolsrud, and Diane Simpson, all of whom have remained with the gallery. Tsou moved from her first tiny space in the Lower East Side to a larger location on Chrystie Street nearby in 2016. In 2022, she joined a wave of other dealers when she relocated to Tribeca. Today, JTT represents artists including Anna-Sophie Berger, Elaine Cameron-Weir, James Yaya Hough, King Cobra (the pseudonym for Doreen Lynette Garner), Sam McKinniss, and Sable Elyse Smith.
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JTT has mounted a total of 83 exhibitions over the past 11 years. The gallery exhibited the pop culture-inspired work of Jamian Juliano-Villani before the artist went on to run her own East Village gallery. In the 2015 show Crypod, Juliano-Villani’s enormous canvases engulfed JTT’s tiny first space as they probed the impossibility of science fiction from the familiar aesthetic perspective of comic books.
In a 2017 show titled Young Lady, artist Bonnie Lucas melded monsters and girlhood with pink, ultra-feminine works that leaned heavily into the grotesque. Lucas had created 16 of the show’s works nearly 40 years earlier, in the 1980s.
For her first solo show at JTT in 2019, strings that show the wind, sculptor Elaine Cameron-Weir rendered a mind-bending meditation on materiality, featuring elements such as leather sculpted to look like concrete, that transformed seemingly recognizable objects into artworks that were simultaneously futuristic and reminiscent of historical torture devices.
This year, JTT held its third solo show of works by King Cobra. Titled White Meat, the exhibition explored the notion of whiteness by evoking bodily horror. It built upon an exhibition last year at the New Museum, where King Cobra employed the same repulsing, flesh-like sculptures to discuss colonialist violence. For another JTT exhibition in 2019, King Cobra explored the specific violence inflicted on women.
In 2021, JTT showcased its first solo exhibition of work by James Yaya Hough. In that show, titled Invisible Lines, the formerly incarcerated artist used paper ephemera from prisons to detail the daily life of people living within the United States carceral system. In an interview with Hyperallergic, Hough referenced the role that JTT and similarly sized galleries play in solidifying the careers of its artists, including himself.
“Everything can’t be a superstar gallery: People need mid-level and small galleries, people need to support those exhibitions and those artists,” the artist told Hyperallergic. “It’s a real loss.”
Tsou did not specify why she was shuttering the space but promised to reveal future plans in the coming months, according to a statement yesterday, August 3.
“It has always been our mission to exhibit visionary work and present exhibitions in which we believe without compromise, and we are so proud that this remarkable project has lasted for over a decade,” Tsou said. “We would like to express our deepest appreciation to all of the artists who shared their visions with us and contributed to the gallery over the years. Without all of you, none of this would have been possible.”