25-year clubs, and when It came my turn to get the gold insignia, or whatever It was, for my 25 years with the company I realized, "My God, 25 years," and I decided to quit.9
Wise sold the company and renewed his interest in painting:
I thought I would combine my artistic experience with my business experience and start a gallery In Cleveland because there really was no gallery of any stature there, I felt that Cleveland was artistically a very closed and ingrown community. The only real modem work that was shown was local work. My objective in opening a gallery in Cleveland was to bring the art from various centers In Europe and America.
In 1957 Wise founded the Howard Wise Gallery of Present Day Painting and Sculpture. For several years he exhibited contemporary painting and sculpture from several European galleries and selections from larger shows at established institutions, such as "8 Painters of the Galerie Amaud, Paris," "18 Painters of the 1958 Pittsburgh International," and "Selections from the 1958-59 Whitney Annual." The Cleveland gallery operated for five to six years, and, while still running it, Wise opened the Howard Wise Gallery on the second floor at 50 W. 57th St. in early 1960.10
It is hard to imagine how different the art world in Now York was in the early '60s compared to today. With many fewer galleries, any newly established showcase received a significant amount of attention. Wise began operations on 57th St. only three years after Leo Castelli opened his first gallery on 77th St. Soho was still an industrial district, and the bulk of important galleries were on Madison Ave. and E. 57th St. Beyond these commercial, uptown galleries, there existed only a few on 10th St.; several artist cooperatives and small, noncommercial galleries operated and coordinated efforts comprising an alternative exhibition scene similar to the galleries on the Lower East Side today. In 1960 the zenith of Abstract Expressionism was past, and the art world was slowly beginning to decentralize into diverse movements. Frank Gillette describes the arrival of Howard Wise in the art community as signifying "the antithesis of 10th St. Howard was, at first, like a pariah uptown. He was very Midwestern and his gallery had wall-to-wall carpeting."
Wise inaugurated his New York gallery by showing Expressionist paintings, including work by Milton Resnick and George McNeil, and for about a year and a half, Wise commuted between Cleveland and New York. In January 1961 he presented an exhibit of three kinetic artists-Yaacov Agam, Len Lye, and Jean Tinguely-in the Cleveland gallery, with the title of "Movement in Art." Coincidentally and almost simultaneously (although unbeknown to Wise until - it opened), Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum held a major survey of 72 artists working in kinetic sculpture, organized by Pontus Hulton, called "Art in
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