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Morrison Gallery Moves to Main Street in Kent

An Interview with Billy Morrison
by Antonia Shoumatoff
Tue Dec 15th, 2015

Billy Morrison stands on the porch of the former site of his gallery.

 Photo by: Wendy Carlson for The New York Times

After nine years at the 7,000-foot space in the plaza on Barn Road, Billy Morrison is about to expand his gallery into a new space on Main Street that he will be building next year.  Meanwhile, he is renting temporary space in the Kent Town Center at 25 North Main Street.

“I decided to move because I bought two acres across from the Fife and Drum at 60 North Main.  I needed a better space to show my large and small sculpture.  I also wanted to build something that will be of more benefit for the town with a bigger garden and a music and movie venue."

The new gallery building will be 6,000 square feet with 4,500 square feet of gallery space and the rest as warehouse.  The design will be contemporary with a flavor of New England. We have not announced the architect yet.  There will be 18-foot high ceilings with a balcony mezzanine and stairs that go up to another section of the gallery.  A glass breezeway will lead to the back gallery and sculpture garden.  The back of the property will feature a music sound stage for concerts.  A movie theatre that can also be used for lectures will be at the back of the building.  Morrison used to be in the music industry and still has connections to big names.

“It was a huge job for me to make the previous space work as an art gallery, putting in entirely new walls and surfaces on top of the existing walls. It was exorbitant to heat.  After so many years the old space lost its energy for me and I finally recognized that it was time to move on and create my own building.  We also needed more room to be able to house works from the estates that we have picked up.”

The new building will be very green with solar panels, radiant heat through polished concrete floors. and a sculpture garden with apple trees and areas where people can sit outside with the artwork.  Morrison will break ground in the Spring and hopes to move in by Spring 2017.

“We have moved to a new temporary location just across the street from Kent Wine & Spirit, 25 North Main, as construction takes place on the art facility just down the road. We opened the new temporary space with an exhibition on December 12 of smaller Wolf Kahn pastels, including many recent works.

I got really lucky with this temporary space and I felt as if I were in Chelsea last night at my opening for Wolf Kahn. So many people came, they had to stand in line. 

We have been able to pick up some estates and will be exhibiting the innovative sculpture of George Sugarman, whose estate we represent, as well works by Hans Hoffman and the steel sculptures of Peter Busby.  We are looking forward to working with some San Francisco artists in group installations.   And of course, we will continue to exhibit our mainstay artists like Cleve Gray and Wolf Kahn.  We will provide exhibitions for the contemporary art that we are known for.

We will also continue to exhibit sculpture along Rte. 7.  The monumental root sculptures by Steve Tobin, however, will be coming down.  We are also looking forward to continuing to exhibit sculpture along Broadway in New York City. ”

The Morrison Gallery was dubbed the “linchpin of the Litchfield County art scene” by the New York Times and is and will continue to be one of the most prominent venues for contemporary art in the region.