A fire tore through a second-floor storage space of Paula Cooper Gallery
at 521 West 21st Street in Chelsea just before noon on Tuesday, multiple sources told Artsy. The New York Post reported
that it was a one-alarm blaze and fire trucks arrived quickly to contain it, but the extent to which the galleries and artworks were damaged is not yet known. In addition to Paula Cooper, neighboring galleries including Tina Kim
and Tanya Bonakdar
were open for business, and the Post
reports that “following the inferno, people could be seen moving out wet boxes from the building and other items like chairs wrapped in plastic.”
A representative for the gallery Sikkema Jenkins
, which occupies a space in the same building with an entrance on 22nd Street, said in an email to Artsy that “the fire was in Paula Cooper’s storage space. As for us, we had smoke in the gallery, but all staff and artwork is safe.” Another source who works in a gallery in the building also confirmed that the fire began in Paula Cooper’s storage space.
A representative who answered the phone at Tanya Bonakdar said “everything’s fine,” but declined to comment further. Calls and emails to Paula Cooper were not returned.
The Post spoke with an employee at Paula Cooper, who said: “This is a very emotional time. We’re still trying to figure things out.” The worker did not say whether the fire in the storage space damaged any artwork.
When the Post called Kravets Wehby Gallery, which also has a space in the building, a woman said, “Our gallery is fine. I can’t say it for the other ones, but we’re okay.”
On Tuesday evening, Paula Cooper Gallery released a statement reading: