Bonni Benrubi, the founder and director of Bonni Benrubi Gallery, died last Thursday, November 29th, following a two-year long battle with cancer. She was 59 years old. Her gallery, founded in 1987 on New York City's Upper East Side, stood apart for its early specialization in 20th century and contemporary photography, which continues today. Among the artists represented by Benrubi are Abelardo Morell and Laura McPhee, both professors at Massachusetts College of Art & Design, Boston. In 2004, the Gallery moved to the Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street, where Morell's latest work iscurrently on view.
Born in the Bronx, Benrubi graduated from Boston University and studied at Radcliffe College and the Museum of Fine Arts. She was one of the few New York City dealers, along with Yancey Richardson and Howard Greenberg, to focus her career on the medium of photography. Along with gathering an impressive roster of contemporary photographers, Benrubi had a strong reputation and history of showing and selling vintage works by photographic masters such as Alfred Steiglitz, Lewis Hine and Berenice Abbott.
Known as a fiercely loyal dealer and stronger supporter of her artists, Benrubi's page in The New York Times's obituary section has received over fifty tributes so far. These messages have come in from all over the globe, attesting to her impact on the lives and careers of many, and to her legacy in the art world. "Bonni had enormous energy and determination and those qualities stuck with her throughout her illness," reflects Laura McPhee. "Her courage in the face of what was clearly awful news was profoundly admirable. She expressed that she had a great life, that she loved being an art dealer, that she didn't want to change her life at all. And she didn't. Bonni was at work the day before she died."
To leave a tribute message for Bonni Benrubi and her family, click here.
Bonni Benrubi Gallery is located at 41 East 57th Street, New York, NY
Abelardo Morell Rock Paper Scissors is on view until December 22nd, 2012