Bill Lowe surveys the scene at his new Midtown art gallery, which recently relocated from TULA Art Center on Bennett Street. The seasoned art dealer splits his time between his Atlanta and Santa Monica galleries, the latter of which opened in 2002, and is known for selling to high-profile clientele. Actress Halle Berry, for one, has been a customer for 16 years; she’s furnished five homes with works from his Atlanta and L.A. spaces. Lowe is also shopping a reality show to the Bravo TV network called “The Gallery,” which will focus on the inner workings of a high-end, high-brow, bi-coastal, contemporary art gallery.
Bill Lowe has long been a fixture of the Atlanta art scene. Until last December, when he moved his collections from their former location on Bennett Street, where they had resided for nearly 20 years, The Lowe Gallery had often been affectionately called the “Neiman Marcus of TULA Art Center.”
The nickname isn’t one he regrets. His staff has, without question, maintained a high-end customer base that appreciates a restrained, un-flashy aesthetic. Naturally, Lowe is also a champion of great design.
“Design is as important to my art sensibility as art is to a designer’s sensibility,” explains Lowe. “I’m not the kind of dealer who says, ‘If you love it, it will fit your home, no matter what.’ I don’t think art should be jarring or incongruent with interiors; I like environments where everything resonates. Design is meant to interact with art, but it should never be at odds with art.”
His new gallery space at 1555 Peachtree Street, which was decades in the planning, is also a testament to great design. “Part studio, part gallery, part temple—and part music video,” as he describes it, the spaces are grand but surprisingly user-friendly. Inventory is not stored in a back room, but rather in bins at the front of the gallery. Visitors can pull out a painting, touch it, feel it, examine it.
The space at Two Peachtree Pointe is just a stone’s throw from the High Museum of Art, which means Lowe will have an even better chance of beguiling international cultural tourists who are drawn by the gallery’s spiritual, metaphysical point of view. For Lowe, the move to this thriving Midtown corridor is all about location. “Every day when I walk to work from Ansley Park, I think, ‘what a beautiful place to work.'” When Midtown’s construction boom is complete, Lowe agrees, it’s going to be even better. In time, he also hopes that other galleries will follow, eventually establishing a cultural epicenter for the South and setting up Atlanta as its uncontested art capital.
“We designed these walls for what I call drive-by or walk-by viewing. I didn’t want it to look like a showroom,” explains Lowe. “And, as we designed it, I kept saying I wanted to debunk the notion of the vast white gymnasium. I don’t want you to walk in and see a big vacant white space with four paintings and nothing else.”
Those who know art well understand that its environment has a profound effect on the way it is experienced. Bill Lowe Gallery is more than 14,000 square feet, with soaring wall spaces for large paintings, but it is also an engaging labyrinth of passageways, bridges and corridors that feel intimate, too. And with artists like Dale Chihuly, Tom Swanston and Gary Komarin as standards, it’s definitely worth the experience.
“I want people to walk away thinking, ‘Wow, that’s what I was hoping art would be like.'” If the success of his Two Peachtree Pointe opening is any indication, they do.
Bill Lowe Gallery
1555 Peachtree Street, Suite 100
Two Peachtree Pointe