A Neighbor I'd Like to Have

Almog Cohen-Kashi

On Leah Hennessey's


New York City is full of rats. You can’t trust your neighbor, your doorman, and especially not your landlord. The files of the New York City Civil Court rectify that a telephonically advised Private Investigator was informed by the landlord of a West Village building about a woman who was running a commercial art gallery out of her residential apartment. The noted commercial activities include, without limitation, the following: exhibitions or displays of art for viewing and/or purchased by the general public, guests of the tenant, or third parties visiting the unit. Soon after, the name Alyssa Davis was added. The landlord of a neighboring apartment divulged to the building board that Ms. Davis was an irrational woman who frequently complained about many other residents of her building to him and anyone who would listen to her. The allegations are not confirmed, and we believe them to be false until proven otherwise. Let us suppose that one makes the acquaintance of a person who possesses alluring charm, but is impenetrable because she carries with her a secret; it would be reprehensible not to pry. Nonetheless, it was declared allowable for her landlord to send an undercover Private Investigator to try his hand at unraveling this enigmatic character.

Being the subject of inquiry suits Ms. Davis quite well. Always aware of this quality she possessed, an anonymous close contact of her’s disclosed the little she knew about her friend’s personal fascination with surveillance technology and taking on an observational role when she first started her gallery, Alyssa Davis Gallery. She thought of the ways in which she could incorporate the idea of monitoring one’s actions into her operation, using hidden cameras in the corners of the space or even occasionally in the art. Eventually she built a 3D rendering of her gallery that now lives in an untraceable corner of the internet as means of “mimicking the power” of those who were above her. In hindsight she finds it quite refreshing that her building opted to utilize such an antiquated means of espionage such as a Private Investigator. It was later stated that Ms. Davis has participated in commercial activities in Apartment 1102 for approximately 7 years. The doorman remarked that the subject has numerous visitors, most notably at night for what appears to be “parties,” in conjunction with a steady flow of visitors throughout the week. Some visitors were more regular while others appeared to know very little about Ms. Davis. Those guests usually tell the building security guard that they were here to see “the show upstairs.” He questioned what led to these entanglements. What were they seeing? Are they business partners? Friends? These questions remain unresolved, it is, after all, precisely what led to the curiosity of what exactly is happening in Apartment 1102.

After speaking to Ms. Davis we quickly caught on to the fact that she was highly selective about who she sold art to. For a gallery run out of a domestic setting she was still an unsparing, remorseless dealer. She never hesitated to turn someone away if they did not earn her confidence. Although, the most curious thing about Ms. Davis’ operation is that it does not appear to be overtly motivated by capital. In the 1960’s and 70’s New York was once a city rampant with artists who pushed away the hyper commercial, though it appears that the market is now more prominent than ever and this has been accepted as the natural progression. How it is that this shift happened right after a movement like conceptualism, which was a reaction to formalism, may be baffling to some but in practice it is more than logical. In turn this gave an operation such as Alyssa Davis Gallery a sense of cachet. The idea that there is a space hidden on the 11th floor of a residential building that is perceived as being incentivized by anything but profit is most likely the reason why many collectors were fascinated by Ms. Davis and viewed the artists she showed more like transcendental beings that exist outside the parameters of the market. This is a grand and noble notion however, this case is still in its essence a bourgeois drama no matter how much either party tries to run away from it.

Ms. Davis is called an operator throughout the case, though it is apparent that she can be best described as a “facilitator.” This operation is moreso a platform that marries her to a community of artists and thinkers, allowing her to unconsciously work through the looming question of what will later be defined as the first chapter of a much longer cultural narrative. It is evident that she possesses this innate quality that allows her to gear the thoughts of artists in the right direction while supporting their ideas, whispering to them exactly what they need to hear and in turn quelling any doubts they may have. The programing was startlingly coherent, with valiant exhibitions that were long on installation and short on painting.

As of April 4th, 2022 Alyssa Davis Gallery will no longer operate out of Apartment 1102. Additionally, Ms. Davis must decouple the name of her gallery with the address that once housed this project. The reality is that the dissolution is all a coverup for something more common, as many longtime residents of this city can imagine. There were no lease violations, rent was always paid on time and the only damages made to the apartment were not caused by our subject. On the surface it doesn’t seem like this will be an issue for Ms. Davis as she has always possessed multiple dimensions; she regularly participates in many different activities that were once grounded in her space. While she is the intermediary of many groups, she remains elusive yet salient, like an embodiment of the very gallery she once ran. Or perhaps she could be better compared to the sea, as she always seems to be in motion. Picking up people and ideas as though they were grains of sand, moving them from one shore to another all the while giving them a polish particular to her.

Join Us for The Alyssa Davis Gallery Funerary Gala, purchase tickets and bid HERE.