Douglas Heller talks about moving Heller Gallery to the Meatpacking District and then to Chelsea. Oral history interview with Douglas Heller, September 7, 2018, Bard Graduate Center. Clip length: 03:35.

Douglas Heller: And then after 18 years in SoHo, the neighborhood changed dramatically and started to echo what had happened on Madison Avenue. It was filled with, you know, the uptown Carriage Trade businesses and it was losing the gallery identification and the thing that gave it its particular personality and, like many of the people, we started looking elsewhere. I was on the Gallery Association in the neighborhood and at each meeting somebody would say ‘Well, you know, I have to resign. I’m moving to Chelsea.’ So we did a similar thing to what we had done up on Madison Avenue. We had had another couple of years left on our lease and we went to the landlord and said, you know, ‘This place seemingly is worth a lot more money than we’re paying for it, now you could get different types of tenant.’ And indeed they got Vivienne Westwood, the doyenne of punk. She took our space and the landlord bought us out and we used that money to establish ourselves in what was the Meatpacking District before it was the little black dress, fabulous restaurant Meatpacking District. It was the big fat butcher with a blood-stained apron district and the 24-hour sextrade going on. But it was a fabulous location, we had met this wonderful landlord and we got a great space that was again two levels, it was as big as the SoHo space, we had 6,000 usable square feet, and slowly the neighborhood started to change from Dizzy Izzys to Stella McCartneys—Dizzy Izzy being a 24-hour bagel restaurant—to the Stella McCartney store and the rest. And we stayed there, I guess, for about 17 years also, but that neighborhood again started to change dramatically, and we felt a little bit out of place. Even though we loved the location, it was no longer a destination for galleries, and it had become completely—what should I say?—“retail” again. So we started looking and again we had chosen wisely, getting in a bit ahead of the curve in the value of the neighborhood. And we made another deal just a short time before our lease expired. And we, with the help of our previous landlord, found this location, which is again a handsome space. It’s 3,000 square feet. We lost all of our storage space. So that is the saga of our moves and we feel very comfortable here. It is truly one of New York’s major gallery neighborhoods. You now have the Lower East Side and Chelsea and we found—while we looked in both locations—we found the physical layout here much more to our liking. Downtown for the most part, the spaces are in small tenement buildings with smaller footprints and the rest, and given that I’m a lot older now and business is a lot more established, this felt like the more logical place to be.