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HomeArtMacGregor Harp (1981–2022) - Artforum International

MacGregor Harp (1981–2022) – Artforum International


New York gallerist MacGregor Harp, who was known for his keen eye for emerging talent and for his enthusiastic support of rising young artists, died of pancreatic cancer August 21 at the age of forty-one. Harp with Jesse Greenberg cofounded the Brooklyn gallery 247365 in 2012; the pair are credited with giving numerous contemporary art-world luminaries their start via the space, which they moved in 2015, landing on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, before shuttering it in 2017. Among those whom the gallery helped launch, often through short-lived and raucous group shows, are sculptor and filmmaker Dora Budor, painters Jamian Juliano-Villani and Walter Price, and multimedia artist SoiL Thornton. Harp put his graphic talents to work in the service of the gallery’s artists, creating memorable and visually distinct posters for each exhibition.

Harp was born in New Haven in 1981 to parents who were both graphic artists, and he followed in their footsteps, establishing a freelance career in New York in the early 2000s. He exhibited as an artist himself, working across painting, photography, and sculpture, occasionally, as in one 2014 exhibition, expanding his practice to include esoteric performances, including applause on demand, the sale of his fiancée’s cast-off clothing, and the distribution of loosies.

Having gained an interest in curating through making and editing artist’s books, Harp in 2008 opened W/Project Space with graphic designer Jiminie Ha and Rebecca Gimenez, then the design director for the Whitney Museum of American Art. Predicated on the philosophy “no time, no money, no space,” the gallery occupied a 141-square-foot space in Chinatown and operated according to a time-share mandate, which held that each of the three curators would each be allowed equal staging time for their shows, which were to last two weeks apiece. Anomalous at the time, the brief runs served as the blueprint for those mounted by Harp and Greenberg at 247365.

Whether occupying the so-called Donut District (the area near a Dunkin’ Donuts beneath the looming Gowanus Expressway in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens), a basement on Manhattan’s Eldridge Street, or an only slightly more respectable storefront on nearby Stanton Street, and despite its tightly curated shows, 247365 evoked a rakish, devil-may-care attitude. Commenting on a 2016 show there of the work of artist Becky Howland, much of it dating to the 1980s, David Frankel noted in the pages of 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.”

Following the 2017 dissolution of the gallery he shared with Greenberg, Harp resumed his career as a graphic designer. According to a post to a GoFundMe set up by his father on August 2, he had moved to his late mother’s native Montreal in May and was working as the creative director of a marketing firm; he was diagnosed with cancer shortly thereafter.

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