Culture News

Phoenix's Exposed Studio & Gallery Is Closing

When local art broker Gregg Edelman announced earlier this month that he was closing his space Exposed Studio & Gallery, it wasn't so much a goodbye as it was a "see you later" sort of thing.

That's only because the local art enterprise will still exist in virtual form and may eventually find a new home elsewhere in the Melrose district. Plus, Edelman plans on putting on art shows and participating in neighborhood events, like the Melrose on Seventh Avenue Street Fair.

By the end of this week, however, he'll be closing Exposed's longtime location along Seventh Avenue.

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"I'm still going to be an art broker, I'm still going to be playing a part in the Seventh Avenue and Melrose area, and I'm still going to support the arts," Edelman says. "Just not with a brick-and-mortar store at this point. The Exposed business isn't going away, just that particular building"

Edelman says that he and his partner Harvey Unci decided to close Exposed's brick-and-mortar location after a decade in operation in order to focus a little more on their growing real estate development business and to spend more time together.

"Our real estate development has taken off recently," Edelman says, "And we just found that 10 years is a good point to move onto the next chapter with the business, so we're just moving forward, and it just means we won't be in that particular building."

Following the closing of Exposed's current home on Friday, Edelman says it will become more of a "virtual entity," as he'll continue to sell art through the gallery's website and at neighborhood events like street fairs. He also plans to curate exhibitions and shows featuring local artists at central Phoenix restaurants or other businesses.

There's also a possibility that he and Tucker will "probably open up another location within a year or so" in the Melrose district.

Edelman, who owns the Seventh Avenue property that houses Exposed, plans to lease out the space, possibly to another gallery or art-related business that's that he says will be "a nice fit for the Melrose neighborhood."

Exposed, which originally opened in 2004 near Third and Lexington streets, moved to its Seventh Avenue location in 2007. Over the past decade, Edelman estimates that the LGBT-friendly studio and gallery feature the works of more than a hundred different local and out-of-town artists across many different media, ranging from paintings and sculpture to photography and illustrations.

"We had a lot of artists, especially emerging artists that never would have gotten a chance to show in other galleries got their start there," Edelman says.

Some of the more memorable shows at Exposed over the years included the works of painters like Charles Love Sanders, Rob Padilla, and former Young and the Restless actor Thom Bierdz, as well as wire artist Brett Orton, metal crafter Christopher Hudson, and sculptor Robert Miley, the creator of downtown's landmark Release the Fear statue.

"A lot of memories happened in that gallery," Edelman says. "And every month was a party with First Friday."

Exposed is also notorious for its popular annual erotic art show, a group exhibition that's befitting of the gallery's name as it's typically composed of risqué and racy works that are primarily of homoerotic nature and take an unflinching look at sexuality, ranging from tasteful nudes to more fetishized photographs.

"We were one of the few galleries in Arizona that had no problem showing homoerotic artwork," Edelman says. "And there's a huge clientele for that too. It was amazing."

Fans of the erotic art show will be happy to hear that Edelman plans to continue putting it on, albeit at a new home. In the meantime, Exposed will be selling off its remaining stock of works (as well as various art supplies, equipment, displays, and furniture) during a three-day closeout sale from Tuesday, July 15, to Friday, July 18.

And even though both Edelman and Exposed will be sticking around the scene, he says its still a little emotional at closing the gallery's current location.

"It's a little melancholy, I guess," Edemlan says. "People are asking, 'Are you really sad about it?,' and I say, 'Absolutely not.' It's more of a mix of happy and sad, since it's been a wonderful experience where we've gotten to work with some great artists and creative people. And we'll continue to be here in one form or another."

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.