The gallery programme began in 1984 in a Victorian terraced house in London’s East End. Initially named Interim Art the gallery changed its name to Maureen Paley in 2004 as a celebration of its 20th anniversary. Since September 1999 the gallery has been situated in light industrial space in Bethnal Green. In July 2017 Maureen Paley opened a second space in Hove called Morena di Luna. In October 2020 a third space was opened in Shoreditch, London called Studio M. From its inception the gallery’s aim has remained consistent: to promote great and innovative artists in all media.
Maureen Paley was one of the first to present contemporary art in London’s East End and has been a pioneer of the current scene, promoting and showing a diverse range of international artists. Gallery artists include Turner Prize winners Lawrence Abu Hamdan, 2019; Wolfgang Tillmans, 2000 and Gillian Wearing, 1997 as well as Turner Prize nominees Rebecca Warren, 2006; Liam Gillick, 2002; Jane and Louise Wilson, 1999 and Hannah Collins, 1993. Represented artists also include AA Bronson, Felipe Baeza, Tom Burr, Michaela Eichwald, Morgan Fisher, General Idea, Anne Hardy, Peter Hujar, Michael Krebber, Daria Martin, Paulo Nimer Pjota, Olivia Plender, Stephen Prina, Maaike Schoorel, Hannah Starkey, Oscar Tuazon, and James Welling.
Maureen Paley, the gallery’s founder and director, was born in New York, studied at Sarah Lawrence College, and graduated from Brown University before coming to the UK in 1977 where she completed her Masters at The Royal College of Art from 1978–80.
Together with running the gallery, Maureen Paley has also curated a number of large-scale public exhibitions. In 1994 she organised an exhibition of works by Felix Gonzales Torres, Joseph Kosuth and Ad Reinhardt at the Camden Arts Centre. In 1995 Wall to Wall was presented for the National Touring Exhibitions and appeared at the Serpentine Gallery, London, Southampton City Art Gallery and Leeds City Art Gallery showing wall drawings by international artists including Daniel Buren, Michael Craig-Martin, Douglas Gordon, Barbara Kruger, Sol Lewitt, and Lawrence Weiner. Maureen Paley also selected an exhibition of work by young British artists in 1996 called The Cauldron featuring Christine Borland, Angela Bulloch, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Steven Pippin, Georgina Starr and Gillian Wearing for the Henry Moore Sculpture Trust which was installed in their Studio space in Dean Clough, Halifax.