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 exhibits contemporary art and photography, and on occasion mounts shows of antiques and collectibles. In it’s capacious facility, it is able to mount five, one - person shows simultaneously and has seven such exhibitions in the course of a year. The gallery maintains a complete photographic archive on its exhibitions from the time of its inception, available to students and scholars for research, without reservation.
The gallery's main concern is to show the most significant artwork of our time. In the choice of works to be exhibited there is no prejudice as to the style or materials employed. The sole criteria is innovation of concept and maturity of technique. OK Harris’ exhibitions over the years have proven soundness of judgment in identifying important artists and established it’s pertinent contribution to the visual arts culture.