Gavin Brown founded his eponymous gallery, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, in Manhattan’s west Soho in 1994, before moving to Greenwich Street in 2003. Brown ran the artists’ bar Passerby (which had a floor designed by Piotr Uklański) on west 15th Street from 1997 until 2008.
In 2016, the gallery relocated to Harlem, opening with an “enigmatic” exhibition of works by Ed Atkins, while the second exhibition, “Love is the Message, the Message is Death” (2016-2017) by Arthur Jafa was hailed as a “crucial ode to Black America” and “required viewing”.
Born and raised in Croydon, England, Brown initially trained as an artist, attending Newcastle Polytechnic in England and then Chelsea College of Arts in the early 1980s. He moved to New York in 1988 to take part in the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program.
While working as a director of 303 Gallery in the early 1990s, Brown spent his spare time staging exhibitions in diverse locations such as his apartment on the Upper West Side, an office cubicle in midtown Manhattan and an abandoned building in TriBeCa. In 1993, he rented a room in the Chelsea Hotel to present the work of the then-unknown artist Elizabeth Peyton.
In 2013, together with the artist Laura Owens, Brown co-founded the Los Angeles artist-run gallery space 356 Mission. He opened a gallery in Rome in the 8th-century church Sant’Andrea de Scaphis in 2015.