Paula Cooper Gallery, the first art gallery in SoHo, opened in 1968 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 over fifty 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 redesigned 19th century building. The architect was Richard Gluckman. In 1999, Paula Cooper opened a second exhibition space at 521 West 21st Street. In fall 2018, the gallery temporarily relocated its primary space to 524 West 26th Street, opening with a 50th anniversary exhibition that benefitted March For Our Lives.
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.