The Paula Cooper Gallery opened in 1968, the first art gallery to open in New York’s SoHo district, with an exhibition to benefit the Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam. The show included works by Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Robert Mangold and Robert Ryman, among others, as well as Sol LeWitt’s first wall drawing. For almost forty years, the gallery’s artistic agenda has remained focused on, though not limited to, conceptual and minimal art.
In 1996, the gallery moved to Chelsea to occupy an award-winning 19th century building redesigned by Richard Gluckman, of Gluckman Mayner Architects. In 1999, Paula Cooper opened a second exhibition space, also on 21st Street.
Beyond its immediate artistic program, the gallery has regularly hosted concerts, music symposia, dance performances, book receptions, poetry readings, as well as art exhibitions and special events to benefit various national and community organizations. For 25 years until 2000, the gallery presented a much celebrated series of New Year’s Eve readings of Gertrude Stein’s “The Making of Americans” and James Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake.”