“I’ve traded my day job for that of a general contractor,” dealer Alexander Gray told us when we reached him by phone in Chelsea yesterday. He was taking a break from supervising the expansion of his gallery into the space next door to its current location on the second floor of 508 West 26th Street, the building that is also home to Greene Naftali and Harris Lieberman Gallery. The renovation will double Alexander Gray Associates’ square footage from 2,000 to 4,000.
Though Mr. Gray and his business partner, David Cabrera, who co-founded the gallery together in 2006, had not been looking for a larger location, the opportunity arose when their neighbor, Andrea Meislin, decided to decamp to West 24th Street. “We were running out of space, especially with storage,” Mr. Gray said. “We tend to show these singular, monumental pieces by the artists that we work with, and this really gives us the opportunity to complement those with other works by the artists.”
The gallery, whose artists include Lorraine O’Grady, Joan Semmel and Paul Ramírez Jonas, will reopen on Sept. 12 with a show by the storied Uruguayan conceptual artist Luis Camnitzer, followed by an exhibition, opening Oct. 31, of work by Melvin Edwards that coincides with the arrival at MoMA PS1 of the Hammer Museum’s 2011 show ”Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960–1980,” which features his work.
The gallery is also expanding the size of its staff, bringing on Ursula Davila-Villa, formerly associate curator of Latin American Art at the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, to serve as director of artist relations. “She’ll be bringing real curatorial background to her responsibilities of working closely with our artists and museums and other institutions that are working on shows and acquisitions,” Mr. Gray said.
Once construction on the gallery is completed, the installation of Mr. Camnitzer’s show will begin, and one room will feature his never-before-shown Bricks (1974/2012) installation, which he imagined during the early years of the military dictatorship in Uruguay. ”He was just never able to realize it because of the costs involved and the technology that it would have required,” Mr. Gray said. “But there’s a maquette that was made in ’74 and dated and intended for a room—basically wallpaper with photographs of a brick wall at different scales and perspectives.”
The 10-foot-tall photo murals of the brick wall will stretch around one room in the newly expanded gallery. “We’re tearing down walls and then putting up photographs of walls,” Mr. Gray said.