Seattle art seller Greg Kucera sells his longtime Pioneer Square gallery to workforce

Greg Kucera, who built his namesake gallery into a single of the most respected artwork areas in the Northwest, is retiring after 38 many years. He programs to relocate to Europe and will market his gallery to two personnel.

Jim Wilcox, the gallery’s assistant director, together with Carol Clifford, his spouse and the space’s bookkeeper, have purchased the gallery at about 30% of ownership, with designs for a gradual get-in. The gallery will at first be co-owned with Kucera, then absolutely transition to Wilcox and Clifford about a number of many years.

Kucera plans to move (most likely this summer months) to a small castle, a “medieval stone fortress, built in 1501 for just one of the insignificant Knights of Rhodes” in the French town of Parisot, he wrote in a assertion on the gallery’s internet site.

“I opened the gallery in 1983 and have relished each and every moment of it for the last 37 many years,” wrote Kucera. “Now, Jim Wilcox, my trusted staff for 21 years, is purchasing the gallery with his spouse, Carol Clifford, who has worked with us for all of 2020.”

Kucera claimed he planned to do the job in a co-directorship with Wilcox “for a number of decades and then my ownership will lower about time,” and observed the gallery experienced “continued to have great enterprise through all of 2020, which is a superior indicator for our foreseeable future.”

Kucera wrote that, “The gallery will maintain its title and its existing site and configuration. We system to keep on to operate with our existing workers and roster of artists, updating with new expertise as time and prospect permit.”

Wilcox claimed the gallery’s transform in ownership experienced been in the operates for at least two a long time. “When [Kucera] decided he was going to go and retire, we commenced speaking about no matter whether I wished to buy the gallery,” he said. “And I did. Partly since I did not want to see it go away. It is been such an recognized gallery and actually has been a guiding power in Seattle’s art group.”

Greg Kucera Gallery to start with opened in a 2nd Avenue storefront. The gallery distinguished by itself by exhibiting operate from community and regional artists alongside nationally acknowledged artists like David Hockney and Robert Colescott.

“He just tried to display that we aren’t a group of regional artists … that there was a spot for us in the countrywide strategy,” reported Wilcox, who noted that Kucera also brought small business acumen and a spirit of interdependence to the procedure, dwelling out a main perception that “if just one gallery does well, it helps the other galleries as nicely.”

Kucera moved the gallery into its latest Pioneer Square dwelling on 3rd Avenue South in 1998. A lot more arts spaces followed. Foster/White moved in next doorway. Kucera doesn’t declare credit history for the area’s concentrate on visible art, but stated Thursday that galleries are “part of the fundamental commencing of advancement in an area.”

Kucera has “just been large in phrases of how important the arts scene is here and [how it’s] regarded nicely further than the Northwest,” Sam Davidson, operator of Davidson Galleries.

All over its extended everyday living, Kucera’s gallery has demonstrated main artists like Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano, the two provided in a 1989 group present known as “Taboo,” that featured Serrano’s iconic “Piss Christ” as nicely as get the job done from nationally known artists including Sally Mann, Cindy Sherman and Vito Acconci, together with Seattle’s Howard Kottler and Marsha Burns.

In reaction to the cancellation of Mapplethorpe’s Corcoran Gallery exhibit in Washington, D.C., and conservative assaults on Serrano, the display embraced work dismissed as far too provocative to seem at. “We experienced 1 protester opening evening,” Kucera recalled with amusement.

The gallery also held solo demonstrates for artists like Kiki Smith and Kara Walker early in their professions. “At the instant you do not fairly know how considerably-reaching they are,” stated Kucera.

More not too long ago, Anthony White turned one particular of the youngest artists Kucera represents. White, who can make big-scale paintings incorporating a brilliant palette and pop iconography and 3D printer ink, initial achieved the artwork vendor though finishing up a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Cornish College or university of the Arts.

Kucera has a eager eye for figuring out potential in work that other men and women could not see, White explained. “Greg is absolutely a legend here, and I imagine he’ll often be remembered as 1 for the contributions he’s made to Seattle art and Seattle artists.”

Wilcox mentioned he has no designs to make important improvements and intends to carry on Kucera’s legacy and eyesight. “I required to do what I could to try to retain it going for the artists and for me,” he explained.

As a first-time gallery consumer, Wilcox claimed producing the choice to obtain the house was overwhelming, but that he was happy the gallery would stay a cornerstone of the Seattle visual arts scene. “Life is enjoyable at times, even when it is terrifying like it is [right now] and I want to check out to make this as enjoyment a ride as feasible,” he mentioned.

Kucera reported it was vital to go away the gallery in trusted arms. “I’m actually grateful to this neighborhood for supporting me all these years, so I don’t want to transform my back again on it and market to another person who doesn’t care about it,” he claimed.

This tale has been updated to explain the information of the gallery’s very first opening.