Flanders Contemporary Art closed

Gallery is in bankruptcy

CARAG — Bankruptcy forced the closure of Flanders Contemporary Art, 3012 Lyndale Ave. S., owner Douglas Flanders said Monday.

Flanders said he was forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy by a local business partner who helped finance the construction of his current gallery, which opened four years ago. Slow sales, made worse by the economic crisis, left Flanders unable to repay the loan, he said.

The closing was announced in a message on the gallery’s website.

“The gallery had to go into bankruptcy just because of a lack of business,” Flanders said. “We hope to reopen, but we don’t have a specific time and place.”

Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the liquidation of a debtor’s assets to repay creditors.
Flanders said art he used as collateral for the loan is in storage and will be auctioned to repay the debt. Art that was in the gallery on consignment has been returned to the artists.

Flanders first opened his gallery in 1972 at 1204 Harmon Place, a space now occupied by Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant. A sculpture by Tony Caponi still stands at the location.

The gallery, which specializes in modern and contemporary art, moved several times before opening in 2004 in the Lyn-Lake area.

Flanders said he never developed a strong, local customer base for his gallery.
“What we would sell is what I call secondary market art, and it would be mostly [sold] to museums and collectors outside of Minnesota and, more and more, outside of the United States,” he said.

Flanders said he was struggling to keep up with monthly expenses for running his gallery. The economic downturn — not to mention the Bernard Madoff scandal, which directly affected many of his clients — was the last straw.

“This is like the third recession I’ve been through” since 1972, he said. “This might be the worst.”

Flanders planned to reopen in a new, smaller space following bankruptcy proceedings.

“[I’ll] do something modest,” he said. “Instead of three or four artists [showing at once,] we’ll show one.”