The Lower East Side pushcart peddlers of a century ago would be astounded by the number of galleries in their former neighborhood—and by the contemporary artworks displayed within them. During the past decade, many gallerists and artists moved to LES and neighboring Chinatown from Chelsea. Though originally attracted by the lower rents, many now prefer the camaraderie and energy of their new neighborhood—as have many art aficionados. Below is just a smattering of the dozens of Lower East Side galleries.
119 Ludlow Street (between Delancey and Rivington Streets)
If you don’t like the current exhibit at this artists’ collective, work space, and gallery, just wait a few days: Con Artist unveils a new showing roughly every week. Current and upcoming shows include “Candylands” (July 31-August 4), inspired by sweets and treats; “Mirror Mirror” (August 7-11), an exhibit of contemporary self-portraits; and “Good-Bye Cassini” (September 11-15), inspired by the scheduled destruction of the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft on September 15.
59 Orchard Street (between Hester and Grand Streets)
Before Michael Foley opened his gallery in 2004, his background was primarily in photography. But in addition to photographers such as Leon Borensztein, Ina Jang, Martin Klimas, and Henry Leutwyler, the gallery represents the likes of collage artist Stephen Aldrich, painter Casey Ruble, and sculptor Simon Schubert. Similarly, though it is running the photography exhibit “Analog v. Digital” August 16-26, recent exhibitions included a solo show of watercolors by Balint Zsako and “Figure 8,” a group show of artists working in a range of media.
89 Eldridge Street (between Hester and Grand Streets)
Whimsical provocateur Cary Leibowitz (aka Candy Ass), singer/songwriter turned performance artist/visual artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, and multimedia artist Scott Treleaven are among those represented by this small avant-garde gallery. Among its upcoming shows are “Ride Collision: Voice-Haptic On-Road Patio for Liaison Sessioning” (August 4-26), an assemblage by Erin Davis and Max C. Lee built with discarded and disposable materials, and a solo show by painter Duncan Hannah (October 27-December 10).
54 Ludlow Street (between Hester and Grand Streets)
This gallery was not founded by a Herr von Nichtssagend; artists Rob Hult, Ingrid Bromberg Kennedy, and Sam Wilson, who own the gallery, gave it the name, which translates to “Klaus of Nothing Said.” The artists it represents are a diverse collection, encompassing post-Pop painter Benjamin Butler; Alex Dodge, a painter who often incorporates digital processes such as 3-D modeling into his work; and David Scanavino, known for boldly colored abstract installations.
149 Orchard Street (between Rivington and Stanton Streets)
Hanksy is one of several street artists represented by Krause Gallery. Image: Cryo Mariena/Flickr
Krause Gallery represents and exhibits both emerging and established artists; in fact, the name of its current exhibition, running through September, is “Emerging to Established.” Many of its artists have a definite street sensibility. Among them are Hanksy, who first gained prominence by incorporating references to Tom Hanks movies into pastiches of works by street-art superstar Banksy; Plastic Jesus, known for placing “No Kardashian Parking” signs around Hollywood; and José Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros, whose paintings incorporate iconic cartoon characters into unlikely pop-culture scenarios (and who will be the subject of a solo exhibit in September).
201 Chrystie Street (between Rivington and Stanton Streets)
Lehmann Maupin will curate a Gilbert & George exhibit this autumn. Image: Gilbert.or.george/Wikimedia
The Chrystie Street gallery is the second of Lehmann Maupin’s three locations; it began with a gallery on West 22nd Street that is still open, and it subsequently launched a space in Hong Kong. Tracey Emin and Juergen Teller are among the artists who had their first solo New York shows courtesy of Lehmann Maupin. At Chrystie Street through September 1 is “From a Whisper to a Scream,” a Minimalist-influenced show featuring work by Teresita Fernández, Jeffrey Gibson, and Shirazeh Houshiary. Long-time collaborative duo Gilbert & George will be the subject of an exhibit beginning October 12.
132A Eldridge Street (between Broome and Delancey Streets)
Having opened in the Lower East Side in 1997, Woodward Gallery is one of the older of the neighborhood’s exhibit spaces. Among the artists it represents are “urban contemporary realist painter” BK Foxx; Thomas Buildmore, who uses spray paint to reinterpret iconic imagery; and painter Terence Netter, who is perhaps best known for minimalist landscapes. Earlier this summer the gallery hosted the New York City debut of the paintings and sculptures of actor Val Kilmer.