Meulensteen gallery began in 1969 in Washington, D.C. as Max Protetch gallery. During this time the gallery was known for challenging exhibitions of conceptual and pop artists such as Sol LeWitt and Andy Warhol. In 1978 the Gallery moved to New York, where it broke new ground in the practice of exhibiting architectural renderings. In a response to September 11th, the Gallery organized New World Trade Center: Design Proposals, which featured proposals for a new Lower Manhattan from sixty international architects. The show was chosen to represent the United States at the 8th International Biennale of Architecture in Venice, and was one of the most highly-attended private gallery exhibitions in New York City’s history. The Gallery also promotes artists who are uniquely engaged with public sculpture, including Siah Armajani and the late Scott Burton, the greatest artist-proponent of functional sculpture.
Today the Gallery is renowned as the leading purveyor of architectural renderings as contemporary artworks. It represents and has works available by architects and architectural photographers including Asplund, Buckminster Fuller, Gehry, Graves, Hadid, Hejduk, Hervé, Kahn, Koolhaas, Korab, Libeskind, Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, Rossi, Saarinen, and Venturi.
Throughout the 1990s, the Gallery played a pioneering role in introducing Chinese contemporary art to Western audiences, a practice that expanded to include a former partnership with Beijing Commune. As a result, several preeminent Chinese contemporary artists had their first American commercial exhibitions at the Gallery, and maintain a relationship with the gallery to this day.
In the fall of 2009 the Gallery was acquired by Dutch patron and businessman Edwin Meulensteen. The gallery largely maintained its programming and staff, and underwent an extensive renovation of its exhibition space in the summer of 2010. Under Meulensteen the Gallery remains dedicated to continuing the 40-year long tradition founded by Max Protetch of breaking geographic and conceptual boundaries in exhibition programming.
Meulensteen Gallery represents an eclectic range of emerging and established artists from around the globe. Working in all contemporary media, they are perhaps better defined by the differences between them than their similarities. In keeping with the Gallery’s rich history, several thematic threads can be discerned: a conceptual and aesthetic interest in architecture, a keen sense of the history of abstract painting, and the continuing legacy of the Pop tradition. They include Siah Armajani, Chen Qiulin, Saul Chernick, Mike Cloud, Hai Bo, Zach Harris, Oliver Herring, Tim Hyde, Byron Kim, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Ann Pibal, Marjetica Potrč, Tobias Putrih, David Reed, Keita Sugiura, Sun Xun, Katayoun Vaziri, Siebren Versteeg, Betty Woodman, along with the estates of Scott Burton and Richard DeVore.
Their works are exhibited in leading exhibitions such as the Venice, Sao Paolo, and Whitney Biennales, Documenta, and international museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Centre-Pompidou, the Smithsonian, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hammer Museum, the Walker Art Center, Museum of Arts & Design, the Albright-Knox museum, the Cranbrook Art Museum, MASS MoCA, the Stedelijk Museum, the Museum Boymans-Van Beuningen, Kunsthalle Basel , Frankfurt Museum für Moderne Kunst, and La Caixa Foundation. Their many awards and fellowships include the Fulbright, Guggenheim, MacArthur, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Joan Mitchell, Rockefeller, and Pollock-Krasner awards, multiple fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Chinese Contemporary Artist Award.