In the fall of 1999, James Cohan opened on West 57th Street with an exhibition of early work by Gilbert and George. The gallery moved to Chelsea in 2002 with a group show including Fred Tomaselli, Phillip Taaffe, and Harry Smith. James Cohan's diverse programming includes solo exhibitions of artists and two thematic group exhibitions every year.
James Cohan Gallery operated an additional location in Shanghai, China from 2008 through 2015. This space introduced American and European contemporary art to a Chinese audience and also introduced a selection of Chinese artists to the gallery’s programs in New York and Shanghai.
James Cohan Gallery opened a second New York location in November 2015. Its inaugural exhibition in the Lower East Side was an exhibition of early Robert Smithson drawings. This additional location allows the gallery to expand its ambitious programming with focused and experimental exhibitions of gallery artists.
Over the past four years, the gallery has welcomed new artists Firelei Báez, Kathy Butterly, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Omer Fast, Gauri Gill, Federico Herrero, Mernet Larsen, Teresa Margolles, Josiah McElheny, the Estate of Lee Mullican, Christopher Myers, Jordan Nassar, Tuan Andrew Nguyen, The Propeller Group, Matthew Ritchie, Elias Sime, and Grace Weaver to its program, reinforcing its commitment to championing artists whose work, for all its rich disparity, is fundamentally grounded in rigorous engagement with physical and ideological place. Each artist in the gallery program seeks to re-imagine contemporary human experience by engaging critically with historical precedent while negotiating identity through materiality and process.
In September 2019, James Cohan presented an exhibition of new work by Josiah McElheny at 48 Walker Street. This was the artist’s debut solo exhibition with James Cohan and inaugurates the gallery’s new Tribeca flagship location. In November, James Cohan celebrated its 20th Anniversary with an exhibition of new and important work by gallery artists across both locations.