The artists' cooperative Park Place, The Gallery of Art Research, Inc. opened in November 1965 at 542 West Broadway, showing the work of ten young contemporary artists. The cooperative did not represent an art movement, but frequently exhibited large-scale, non-figurative, geometric paintings and sculptures.
Many of the gallery's artists had attended art school in California and shared similar ideas about art, community, and collaboration. Since 1962, they had been informally exhibiting together at 79 Park Place and other various New York City locations under the name Park Place Gallery. With the successes of their informal exhibitions, and the loss of their lease at 79 Park Place, the group formalized their cooperative under the umbrella non-profit, Art Research, Inc. in 1965.
The cooperative was comprised of five sculptors, five painters, and five collectors. Members included sculptors Mark di Suvero, Peter Forakis, Robert Grosvenor, Tony Magar, and Forrest Myers; painters Dean Fleming, Tamara Melcher, David Novros, Edwin Ruda, and Leo Valledor; and collectors Virginia Dwan, Allen and Betty Guiberson, J. Patrick Lannan, Vera List, and John and Lupe Murchison. The collectors each donated an artwork by one of the artists for sale in the gallery, as well as financed the gallery's annual operating budget. As compensation, each collector was given one major work of art by each artist every year.
Paula Cooper (nee. Johnson) joined Park Place Gallery in 1966 and she became director in late 1966-early 1967. Previously, from 1964-1966, she ran Paula Johnson Gallery, showing artwork by Bob Thompson and other young artists.
Park Place, The Gallery of Art Research, Inc. had its first group show in February 1966. In addition to showing art, the gallery occasionally held jazz sessions and other art-related gatherings. The gallery physically closed at the end of July 1967. However, Paula Cooper continued managing the sale of artwork and organized exhibitions at various locations. The final exhibition of Park Place Gallery artists was held at M.I.T. in late spring of 1968.
Paula Cooper opened Paula Cooper Gallery in Soho at 96 Prince Street in 1968. Her gallery is often credited as being the first gallery in Soho and thus paved the way for the migration of uptown galleries to the neighborhood. From the beginning, the gallery showed primarily conceptual and minimalist art and she continued representing some of the Park Place artists. Artists represented by Paula Cooper Gallery and found in this collection include Jennifer Bartlett, Dara Birnbaum, Peter Campus, Michael Hurson, Zoe Leonard, Robert Mangold, Elizabeth Murray, Cady Noland, Adrian Piper, Ulrich Rückriem, Edwin Ruda, Alan Shields, the estate of Tony Smith, Joseph White, Chris Wilmarth, Kes Zapkus, and many others. The gallery continues to operate in Chelsea on West 21st Street.
Sources consulted include "Reimaging Space: the Park Place Gallery Group in 1960s New York" by Linda Dalrymple Henderson, published by Blanton Museum of Art, 2008; and, "Art and Space: Park Place and the beginning of the Paula Cooper Gallery," by Liza Kirwin, 2007 (http://www.aaa.si.edu/exhibitions/paula-cooper).