Gallery Hopping :: Lower East Side
This weekend, some friends and I went gallery hopping in the Lower East Side. Visiting galleries is one of the greatest benefits of living in a city that is a cultural center. It's essentially a whole string of free mini-museums. I didn't adequately take advantage of these my first few years in the city, because they can be intimidating. It can feel weird to just walk in, look at art for a few minutes, and leave again, especially as someone who couldn't dream of affording a single piece hanging in the place, but that's how you do it!
I have gone to a few galleries individually recently to see a specific artist or show, but I enjoyed visiting a bunch of them in series. It emphasized the distinct tone each gallery has in its own atmosphere, the art its curators choose to display, and the way those works are exhibited. It is a good way to see variety and to consider why these galleries take on particular tones. Some are run by people with more traditional understanding of the art world, while others are quite experimental.
I've also been very impressed and a little surprised by the Lower East Side while spending more time there recently. Though it was previously one of the neighborhoods I visited least, I plan to go there much more often. Aside from the art galleries, there is a great mix of affordable and finer dining (side note: I ate at Miller's Near & Far, were I was SO happy with my cinnamon waffles with woven bacon, fried chicken, and vanilla bourbon syrup, and my friends french fries), a fascinating mix of residents, and remarkable character, its side streets pocketing elaborate graffiti and small neighborhood gardens.
So here's a list of some recommendations for you to try out, conveniently located so you can see all five in one trip if you so choose:
- Cindy Rucker Gallery, 141 Attorney Street, New York, NY; showing The Emperor of Icecream through December 20, featuring artists Adam Hayes, Don Porcella, Markus Linnenbrink, and Matt Kleberg.
- Christian Berst Gallery, 95 Rivington Street, New York, NY; showing John Kayser's Direct Contact through November 29. Not for those bothered by nudity in art, but also, don't be bothered by it, kid!
- Envoy Enterprises, 87 Rivington Street, New York, NY; showing David Alexander Flinn's work in Midnight, Everything is Alright through November 29.
- Betty Cuningham Gallery, 15 Rivington Street, New York, NY; exhibiting the works of John Lees through November 28.
- On Stellar Rays, 1 Rivington Street, New York, NY; exhibiting Ryan Mrozowski's work in Open, Other, End through December 13. (FYI, you'll have to buzz up to get into the gallery.)
To find more galleries in the area, this map is a great resource!