Whitehot Magazine

Remembering Art Dealer Bill Brady

Bill Brady outside his ATM gallery on 27th St. in Chelsea, N.Y.C. July, 2007. Tomoo Gokita designed the t-shirt. Photo by Nancy Smith courtesy of Art Lovers New York.


By NANCY SMITH, May 2023

Well, everyone is going to be sad about this loss. Bill Brady died this past Sunday April 30, 2023. The well-liked gallerist, known for pursuing new talent, was only 55.

Here’s a quick snapshot of his early NYC days, where from a shoebox-sized gallery in the rough East Village  - he went on to gain mainstream status, and much critical acclaim.

 Tomoo Gokita at the opening of  his debut solo show ‘drunko’ at Bill Brady's ATM Gallery, in Chelsea NYC on September 16th, 2006. It was the Tokyo-based artist’s first solo show in N.Y.C. All photos: Nancy Smith / Artloversnewyork.com


The graphic, but twisted figurative, black and white paintings - which spoke to the alienation of contemporary society - caught everyone’s imagination, and then some, quickly establishing him as a star, both here and in Tokyo. At that time Chelsea was an old west frontier of abandoned storefronts and its streets were barren. Cheap real estate was available in those days for emerging galleries -  the area would turn into one big street party on opening nights.


HUMA BHABHA at the opening reception of ATM gallery’s 2nd, larger storefront space on 27th St. October 17th, 2008.


Bill would often later bemoan the fact to me, after Huma had long gone uptown, that so few art denizens knew he had debuted her work, and had painstakingly kick-started her career. My coverage of her shows also contributed to that rise, so we both bonded over the lack of recognition once the bird flew the coop - it was like neither one of us had ever  been part of the story.


YES !! There really had been a working ATM cash machine outside the earliest ATM Gallery (that I know of ???). It was the sideline biz that kept the gallery attempts, up and running...

This early incarnation of ATM opened in a gritty, small storefront on Ave B in the East Village in 2001. Anybody else notice that Bill liked to move around? After jumping around the underground outposts in NYC, he then began city-to-city hopping, like a big game of hopscotch art survival / real estate edition.  Just a big skateboarder from Kansas City at heart, he was always on the search for new talent, new opportunities, new people. When I knew him best, back in those Artnet Magazine People Section glory days, 2002-04. He kept his skateboarding on the lowdown, so as not to scare off any big-game wannabes, I guess. But if you were quick, you could always catch a glimpse of his faithful companion,  at that time embellished with a  beautiful soft-hued ’plaid’ pattern on the wooden deck. 

            Tracy Nakayama opens, ‘dirt, seed, glory’,  her solo show at ATM.  April 27, 2006.

But, apart from spawning big names, my fav ATM shows were the hardcore outliers. 

NYC-based Tracy Nakayama, whose fine-lined sepia-toned work just blew me away, as if it had been a tsunami, and not just a tender gesture on paper, was one. Bill was really good at catching the wave, whether it was going to break, or not. I think that’s what I’ll miss about him, the most.

Tracy Nakayama, ‘archer’, 2006 was one of my favorites. It's an ink drawing on paper, 19-3/4 x 10-3/4 in. Bill had a very romantic side, though he could also go equally quite ‘brute’, as re Tomoo Gokita. Bill was also very partial to Asian influences, and inner natures...

The gallery card for ‘Blame it on the Dog’ - Peter Sutherland, ATM Gallery, November 21 - January 10, 2008. ATM GALLERY, 621 WEST 27th STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10001, printed on medium cardstock / 6 x 8-1/2 in. Collection: Nancy Smith.

Another ATM outlier: Peter Sutherland opened an ATM solo show, ‘Blame it On  the Dog’. Sutherland was making custom ‘tapestry rugs’ at the time. I guess though you might just see a rebel rebel Colorado big bearded rad boy, Bill must have seen some Asian in him too. Peter Sutherland now has a huge, huge fan base in Japan. 

So, yeah life’s not fair !!  whatcha’ going to do about it? You live, hopefully you spark, and then you die. there’s no rhyme or reason.


May as well  blame it, on... the dog... WM



Nancy Smith


Nancy Smith is an artist, and the publisher of artloversnewyork.com


Portrait by Taylor McKimens



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