OK Harris was founded by Ivan C. Karp in 1969 in the SoHo district of Manhattan. After having been co-director of Leo Castelli Gallery from 1959-1969 during which time he was instrumental in launching the careers of pop artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Tom Wesselmann and John Chamberlain, Ivan broke away and decided to launch his own gallery. Its establishment in SoHo as the first gallery on West Broadway helped inspire the development of the area’s fine arts character.
In addition to being at the forefront of the Photo Realist movement in 1969, OK Harris was among the first galleries to exhibit the work of Duane Hanson, Deborah Butterfield, Manny Farber, Richard Pettibone, Robert Cottingham, Robert Bechtle, Marilyn Levine, Nancy Rubins, Malcolm Morley, Luis Jiminez, Jake Berthot, Jack Goldstein, Porfirio DiDonna, Al Souza and Arman.
OK Harris exhibited contemporary art and photography, and on occasion mounted shows of antiques and collectibles. In it’s capacious facility, it was able to mount five, one - person shows simultaneously and had seven such exhibitions in the course of a year.
The gallery closed in June 2014. Historical documents concerning Ivan C. Karp, and the exhibitions and artists of OK Harris can be researched through the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.