The Aperture Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 1952 by a group of prominent photographers, announced Thursday that it has purchased a new headquarters for $8.95 million. The group will occupy the lower two floors of a Romanesque Revival building at 380 Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side, across the street from the American Museum of Natural History.
Currently occupying fourth-floor rented quarters in Chelsea, Aperture plans to relocate in summer 2024, after the renovation of the space’s 10,000 square feet by the Levenbetts architecture firm. A ground-floor entrance and windows will afford much greater visibility to its exhibitions, bookstore and public programing, while another level will supply additional offices for administrative and publication staff.
“We looked at hundreds of properties,” said Sarah Meister, Aperture’s executive director. “This had so many of the elements we had been hoping for — great accessibility and visibility, flooded with light, and a space that had a real historic character that resonated with my sense of the importance of Aperture’s history.”
The organization’s founders include Minor White, Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams. Aperture publishes books and an eponymous quarterly magazine devoted to the discussion and promotion of photography. It also runs a website, educational programming for public schools and a traveling exhibition program.
“Photography can encourage a tolerance of the new, and it rewards careful looking and thinking, as a model for society,” Meister said. “Aperture could be to photography what Kleenex is to facial tissue, but to do that, we have to find a way that opens us up to the public.”