Ted Bonin, a New York art dealer whose gallery boosted the profiles of artists such as Paul Thek, Mona Hatoum, Ree Morton, and more, has died at his home in Manhattan at 65. A representative for his gallery, Alexander and Bonin, confirmed the news on Tuesday, stating that Bonin died unexpectedly of natural causes.
Alexander and Bonin, which was opened by Bonin and Carolyn Alexander in 1995, has distinguished itself in a crowded scene with a program that tends toward the kind of conceptualism that many galleries shy away from. Hatoum, whose work is now seen widely in institutions around the world, had some of her first shows in the US at the gallery, and artists such as John Ahearn, Emily Jacir, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Doris Salcedo, Rita McBride, and Willie Cole have had multiple exhibitions there.
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The gallery’s slate was unusually diverse at a time when most spaces tended to show almost exclusively white male artists. Its roster now includes a large amount of Latin American artists, including Jonathas de Andrade, Eugenio Dittborn, Diango Hernández, and Dalton Paula.
Bonin had been close with several estates represented by the gallery: those of Thek, an artist most famous for his “meat pieces,” or sculptures that appear fleshy; Morton, who is most commonly associated with the Post-Minimalist and feminist art movements of the 1970s; and Michael Buthe, a German sculptor who took inspiration from his time in Morocco.
Bonin’s relationship to the Thek estate was particularly long-lasting, going back to before the formation of Alexander and Bonin; Bonin even installed the last show mounted while Thek was still alive, in 1988.
Elisabeth Sussman, the curator of a Thek retrospective at the Whitney Museum in 2010, said in a statement, “With Ted’s death, I have lost a dear friend and colleague. Ted was exceptional as a scholarly and exacting advocate for every artist that he, as a dealer, represented, including, among others, Paul Thek and Sylvia Mangold. He will be missed by many.”
Alexander and Bonin was initially located in Tribeca before moving to Chelsea, then not yet a bustling gallery district, in 1997. It remained there until 2016, when it made the surprise move back to Tribeca, seeking a larger space for its shows.
“The architecture and the feeling of the neighborhood reminds me of the time when I first went to galleries in the ’70s and ’80s,” Bonin told the New York Times in 2016. “When nobody talked about the market.”
Ted Bonin was born in 1958 and later attended Columbia University’s art history program as an undergraduate. After graduating in 1980, he became an assistant to the director of the Museum of Modern Art’s art lending service.
In 1983, he joined the staff of Brooke Alexander Gallery, which was founded by Brooke and Carolyn Alexander. He would remain there through 1995, becoming a director by the end of his time with the gallery. That year, he became a partner of Alexander and Bonin.
Carolyn Alexander said in a statement, “In 1995 when Ted and I started Alexander and Bonin, we shared the same goals which were to represent artists and build their careers. He was a generous and supportive colleague and our years of working together were deeply rewarding for both me and the artists with whom we worked. We join our colleagues, the curators and the artists with whom he worked in expressing our profound sadness at his passing.”