Hello Goodbye: Gallery moves, re-opens with Beatles exhibit
GREENWICH — Greenwich Avenue’s high rents combined with an acknowledged lack of retail experience dissuaded former Wall Streeter Tiffany Benincasa from opening an art gallery in 2005. More than a decade later and Benincasa has built a successful brand with C. Parker Gallery that she feels fits perfectly at its new location on the downtown shopping strip.
“Moving here was an easy decision,” Benincasa said. “I couldn’t pick a better block on the avenue to be.”
On Thursday evening, Benincasa unveiled both her new gallery, which she moved from East Putnam Avenue to 409 Greenwich Ave., and one of her most exciting exhibits.
The showcase features hand-signed artwork from George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as Andy Warhol pieces.
“Nothing has been done like this before in town,” Benincasa said during a tour of her new shop.
Thursday’s grand re-opening party that centered around the exclusive exhibit drew roughly 100 people, Benincasa said, adding she expects attendance to remain high through the show’s duration. It is planned to last until Sunday, Sept. 24.
The gallery’s promising debut on Greenwich Avenue marks a significant chapter in Benincasa’s career.
The Midwestern native moved to New York City after college to work at D.E. Shaw Group. She continued on Wall Street with positions at JPMorgan and UBS. All the while, she spent her free time visiting art shows, collecting pieces for herself and, eventually, for others as a private dealer.
Early in life, Benincasa had developed a love for art that’s rooted in childhood trips to New York City galleries with her grandparents. With her first finance paycheck, she bought a piece of artwork and sent it to her grandparents, Benincasa said.
All those trips to galleries and exhibits as an adult helped her love for art grow, but they also highlighted an aspect of the industry she didn’t like.
“People always wanted to sell you things even if they didn’t match you. I always thought that I’d want something different for clients,” Benincasa said.
In 2011, six years after she’d backed out of opening a gallery at the top of Greenwich Avenue, Benincasa decided to leave Wall Street and opened C. Parker Gallery on East Putnam Avenue.
“I remember thinking that if I had a heart attack right then and died on the trading floor that I’d be so mad I didn’t pursue my dreams,” she said. “I had a great exit strategy.”
Benincasa may have left the trading floor, but the skills she refined there are evident in how she’s structured the business strategy at C. Parker Gallery. Instead of viewing herself as a salesperson, Benincasa considers her services more like those of a consultant.
“Everyone connects with art differently,” she said. “My first questions are always about clients’ objectives and then finding pieces that fit those. I have a really service-oriented model.”
The industry for buying and selling art can appear opaque to clients, which often unsettles people about attending galleries, Benincasa said.
“I want to create transparency in the process and give people all the information they need to make a decision,” she said. “I like to be the value-added proposition.”
With her curation of artists and series of exhibits, Benincasa anticipates that her Greenwich Avenue location will serve as a destination for both former and new clients.
“This is the next stop in my journey,” she said. “I’m excited to continue to become more a part of the fabric of the community.”
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