Resnick/Passlof Foundation Set to Open Exhibition Space in Restored Eldridge Street Synagogue

87 Eldridge St. Photo courtesy: The Milton Resnick & Pat Passlof Foundation.

87 Eldridge St. Photo courtesy: The Milton Resnick & Pat Passlof Foundation.

If all goes according to plan, the general public will be able to visit a restored synagogue building, the longtime home and studio of painter Milton Resnick, beginning in February of next year.

The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation is finishing up renovations on the beautiful old building, which will become an exhibition space and headquarters for the foundation. Art News reports today that the museum will debut with an exhibition of Resnick’s work — about 30 pieces.

On the foundation’s website, there’s more about the building and the restoration project:

The building at 87 Eldridge Street has a rich history, reflecting the changing character of the Lower East Side of Manhattan over the past century, having been respectively a tenement, a synagogue, an African American church, and finally Resnick’s studio and home from 1977 until his death in 2004. It was here that Resnick painted many of the heavily encrusted paintings that he became known for, as well as visionary late works of the mid-90s on. The Foundation has hired the firm of Ryall Porter Sheridan to renovate 87 Eldridge Street. They will retain the special character of the over-100-year-old building, especially its soaring main Sanctuary, while making its spaces suitable for the exhibition of paintings, and bringing it into compliance with city and state regulations…

Husband-and-wife and respected artists, Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof, lived on the Lower East Side from the 1960s until their deaths (him in 2004, her in 2011). Passlof lived and worked from another former synagogue building at 80 Forsyth St. The Forsyth Street building was sold in 2013 for just over $6 million. The sale has helped fund the restoration of the Eldridge Street property.

Art News spoke with Nathan Kernan, the foundation’s president, and Geoffrey Dorfman, the organization’s secretary:

While living on the Lower East Side, Dorfman said, “Milton is kind of working in the shadows, and that’s where his most majestic work occurs. He’s somebody whose career is not coordinated with how the art world is moving. He’s a man who had developed his own world, really, within the confines of his own studio.” If all goes according to plan on the remaining construction work, which is slated to wrap by the end of the year, the doors of that studio will soon be thrown open, revealing a major new arts institution. Maintaining that space for posterity will require fundraising from public and private sources, Kernan noted. “That’s a daunting project,” he said, sounding rather undaunted. “It’s a little bit of a gamble that it’s going to all work, but we’re naïve enough to have started it and hope to see it through.”

Photo by Midge Wattles, © 2014.

Photo by Midge Wattles, © 2014.