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Bill Lowe

News: Bill Lowe Gallery plans to continue operations after founder’s death

The Bill Lowe Gallery plans to continue operations despite the death of its namesake and founder. Lowe, owner and president of the gallery, died December 29, 2021, of complications from Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 68.

Going forward, the gallery will be led by the newly named executive director, Donovan Johnson. He has been with the gallery for 10 years. Neither the gallery nor the family are providing information about the ownership of the gallery at this time.

“It was [Bill’s] wish and our commitment to continue his legacy and vision for the Bill Lowe Gallery in the years ahead,” Johnson wrote in a recent social media post. “Rest assured we will, with the team he put in place before his passing, do everything in our power to honor that commitment to the fullest.”

Lowe founded the Atlanta gallery in 1989. Longtime artists in the roster include Todd Murphy, Jimmy O’Neal, Steven Seinberg, Maggie Hasbrouck, Kathleen Morris and Michael David. The extensive inventory also includes works by Thornton Dial, Hiro Yamagata and Herbert Creecy. In the early 2000s, Lowe opened a second primary gallery in Santa Monica, California, which closed after eight years.

In 2013, Lowe was the subject of a criminal investigation for alleged fraud and non-payment of nearly $500,000 to artists. In 2017, he pleaded guilty to a single felony charge of theft by conversion. He was sentenced to 10 years probation and required to pay restitution to the artists involved.

Lowe is survived by seven siblings, one of whom, John Lowe, is the gallery’s business manager.

Johnson started working at the gallery as an 18-year-old intern and says Lowe was both a mentor and father figure. “Bill was a supremely spiritual person, which was the foundation of the way we curated work together,” Johnson says. “I think it was a great marker of his and the gallery’s success. He used to tell people there are two buzzwords for our aesthetic — eternal and universal. The gallery’s program was never dictated by trends or by identity politics. Bill believed in the resilience of the human spirit.”

A memorial will be held January 23 at a location still to be determined. Because of Covid, RSVPs will be required. For more information, email donovan@lowegallery.com.

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