Jack Tilton is one of the most acclaimed and respected gallerist in New York City for almost half a century. Since 1983, the Tilton Gallery has been well known for discovering and promoting cutting edge, emerging artists from around the world. For close to three decades, Tilton has exhibited hundreds of contemporary artists, many of whom, like David Hammons, Marlene Dumas, Fred Tomaselli, Huang Yong Ping and Francis Alys, to name but a few, have become prominent figures on the international stage.
The original gallery was in Soho in the 80’s which was the fashionable place for galleries of that era, and then Jack was one of the earliest people to establish a gallery in the west side of Chelsea in the “garage gallery” era near the Highline. The latest iteration is the crowning jewel which returned to the highly respected “Museum Mile” area just a block from The Metropolitan Museum of art, in a restored townhouse between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue in Manhattan’s elite upper east side.
The double townhouse, once occupied for a period by the Roosevelt’s, had been broken up into multiple apartments. The challenge was to remove decades of hap-hazard renovations to open the space back into one grand space. A very delicate approach was taken to restore all of the existing details. In some areas the very intricate original wood floor, including Cuban mahogany detailing had to be hand in-layed. In many spaces such as the piano nobile’s grand ballroom space, century plus old intricate plaster molding was restored in cornices, ceiling medallions and other trim pieces.
Being a contemporary art gallery, all of the detailing was white-washed for a clean minimal back canvas. Robust professional gallery grade systems such as high-intensity lighting, designed to not decay the work, and museum quality air tempering, and humidity control systems were delicately integrated inside of existing walls and floors so that only tiny vent slots are hidden in the cornices and other details so that they are invidible.
The basement level also houses a visiting artist garden apartment, administrative offices, and a small curatorial clean space. With no access from the street for receiving works of art, a portion of the wood floor’s border actually hides a long flip-up “slot” which allows canvases to be brought in through the front door of the townhouse and slipped down through the floor to the curatorial space and then flip back seamless to conceal its existence.
This project was under the direction of Hut Sachs Architecture, with Kevin acting as project designer & manager.