Jack Shainman Gallery was incorporated in 1984. Its first location was in Washington DC. Soon after opening, the gallery relocated to New York City occupying a space in the East Village before moving to 560 Broadway in Soho and then to its current location at 513 West 20th Street in Chelsea in 1997.
The focus of the gallery, since its inception over 25 years ago, is to exhibit, represent, and champion artists from around the world, in particular artists from Africa, East Asia, and North America, by mounting major exhibitions of their work in the gallery, presenting artworks at important art fairs, securing museum exhibitions, and publishing major catalogues with full-color reproductions and scholarly essays on their artwork. Represented artists employ all mediums, with a tendency towards conceptual as well as politically and socially engaged artwork. The gallery presents approximately 15 exhibitions a year and participates in major art fairs including Art Basel, Art Basel Miami Beach, and The Armory Show. The gallery is a member of the Art Dealers Association of America.
Gallery artists have been included in many important exhibitions, such as Documenta (1992, 1997, 2002, 2007); The Venice Biennale (1990, 1995, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007); The Carnegie International (1989, 1999/2000); the Moscow Biennale (2005, 2009); The Gwangju Biennale (2000, 2004, 2008); The Havana Biennale (2009); The Johannesburg Biennale (2005); and the Whitney Biennale (1997, 2006). Gallery artists have been recognized with numerous awards including a Leonore Annenberg Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Grant, a Fulbright, a Guggenheim, a MacArthur, A Louis Comfort TIffany, a Joan Mitchell and the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement, and are represented in museum collections throughout the world and have been documented in countless publications, monographs, and films.