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A Lower East Side Gallery Guide

In the last 15 years, the scene on New York’s Lower East Side has slowly flourished—lower rents and the 2007 arrival of the New Museum being major factors. Just this month marks the arrival of an expansive new space from Richard Taittinger Gallery (yes, he’s an heir to the champagne dynasty of the same name), which joins a spate of big-name galleries (Sperone Westwater, Lehmann Mapuin, Boesky East) and early 2000s pioneers (Nicelle Beauchene, INVISIBLE-EXPORTS, Miguel Abreu, Canada, Rachel Uffner).

For gallery director Risa Needleman of INVISIBLE-EXPORTS, the arrival of the more established guard is a great thing, bringing even more diversity, not to mention footfall, to the LES—there’s room for everyone here. Below is a guide to things up this weekend, as there are a lot of not-to-be-missed shows closing soon. Consider taking a spin on Sunday: While the Chelsea galleries all close that day, the LES is in full swing.

Where the Gallerists and Artists Eat & Drink:

While Vanessa’s Dumpling House and Cup & Saucer on Canal are popular and comfortingly kitschy choices for daytime eats, below are a couple of the insider’s after-hours haunts.

Grey Lady: Lobster Rolls, Seafood Stew and Dark N’ Stormy’s are popular favorites at this Nantucket-inspired bar and restaurant.

Fig. 19: Appropriately tucked behind Envoy Enterprises on Chrystie Street, many a gallery after party is known to take place here.



  • Boesky East
    Boesky East

    Boesky East 20 Clinton St. | 212.680.9889

    Robert Elfgen: There and After All
    (March 29th through April 26th)

    Gallerist Marianne Boesky made her first entry east just last Spring, giving her stable of established artists—Roxy Paine, Melissa Gordon, Barnaby Furnas—a space to connect with a downtown crowd. Currently, German artist Robert Elfgen’s recent landscape paintings are set among found objects from his collection, including a street lamp that towers over the exhibition.

  • Invisible Exports
    Invisible Exports

    INVISIBLE-EXPORTS 89 Eldridge St. | 212.226.5447

    Alan Vega: Welcome to Wyoming
    (Through March 29th)

    Gallerist Risa Needleman is our go-to guide to the LES art scene: Co-establishing her gallery with Benjamin Tischer in 2008 and then expanding into a larger space 5 years later, she’s witnessed the boom for young upstart galleries like her own. A show by Alan Vega, half of the legendary proto-punk band Suicide, and an influential artist in his own right is closing soon here: They’re showing a series of recent, unseen drawings and light-based sculptures.  It’s a fitting return to the LES where his band, and punk itself, began.

    Battleship, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Invisible Exports

  • Miguel Abreu
    Miguel Abreu

    Miguel Abreu 36 Orchard St. & 88 Eldridge St. | 212.995.1774

    Pieter Schoolwerth: Your Vacuum Blows, Which Sucks
    (Through May 3rd)

    With two LES gallery spaces as of 2014, Miguel Abreu’s program is one of the most dynamic, with a constant stream of openings, readings, performances and book presentations (he also runs Sequence press) throughout the year. The current show is inspired by the artist’s vacuum cleaner: Through paintings, drawings, and a video, Pieter Schoolwerth explores the idea of a space-less place.  The show is presented in both of Abreu’s galleries—including the sprawling new space on Eldridge.

    Mail Woman #1, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York

  • Nicelle Beauchene
    Nicelle Beauchene

    Nicelle Beauchene 327 Broome St. | 212.375.8043

    Owen Kydd: Out-of-Place Artifacts
    (Through April 19th)

    Along with running the gallery, Nicelle Beauchene is also the president of the New Art Dealer’s Alliance (NADA), with fairs in New York, Miami and Cologne, where many emerging galleries and artists show, making Nicelle one of the most influential figures on the scene.  Currently on view at the gallery is Owen Kydd’s work which lies somewhere between photography and video, and questions the line between the two.  His video works are mounted flat on the walls much like a traditional photograph, except the video loops reveal the subtlest of movements and changes in lighting.

    Additive (sugar cubes), 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Nicelle Beauchene.   

  • Richard Taittinger Gallery
    Richard Taittinger Gallery

    Richard Taittinger Gallery 154 Ludlow St. | 212. 634.7154

    “Sinthome” group show
    (Through March 29th)

    The inaugural exhibition at champagne-heir Richard Taittinger’s shiny new space aims to unpick the Lacanian term “sinthome” through the works of several international artists.  Heady stuff.

    Ding Yi, Appearance of Crosses 2009-13. Courtesy of the Artist/ Richard Taittinger Gallery, New York

  • Canada
    Canada

    Canada 333 Broome St. | 212.925.4631

    Robin Peck, Crania
    (Through March 29th)

    A standby for often conceptual, contemporary art since 2000, Canada is one of the first galleries in the area representing some of the biggest names on the scene like Xylor Jane and Joanna Malinowska.
    This month, Canada presents a small suite of cranium-like sculptures by the conceptual artist Robin Peck. The gallerist here suggest visiting the Medardo Rosse show at the Center for Italian Art for a sense of context for Peck’s works.

    Courtesy of Canada Gallery.

  • Lehmann Maupin
    Lehmann Maupin

    Lehmann Maupin 201 Chrystie St., 212.254.0054 | 536 W. 22nd St., 212.255.2923

    Future Seasons Past curated by Manuel E. Gonzalez
    (Through April 18th)

    Rachel Lehmann and David Maupin were quick to jump on the east side bandwagon, opening their secondary NYC space in 2007 around the same time as the New Museum. This month, the gallery celebrates the artists—Juergen Teller, Mickalene Thomas, Kader Attia, Terry Winters, and more—that Lehmann Maupin has worked with for nearly 20 years in Chelsea. In addition to the LES, they have a new location there, as well as in Hong Kong.

    Hernan Bas. The soap box in his mind, 2009. Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong

  • New Museum
    New Museum

    New Museum 235 Bowery | 212.219.1222

    2015 Triennial: “Surround Audience”
    (Through May 24th)

    The Japanese firm SANAA’s New Museum is a gleaming, white beacon for contemporary art on the Bowery, and many attribute the arrival of the revamped museum with the revival of the LES’s art scene.  There’s no better time to visit and get a taste of the current landscape than during the Triennial: This year’s is co-curated by artist Ryan Trecartin and curator Lauren Cornell, gathering recent works from artists around the world that explore today’s hyper-connected media culture.

    Courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo: Benoit Pailley

  • Rachel Uffner Gallery
    Rachel Uffner Gallery

    Rachel Uffner Gallery 170 Suffolk St. | 212.274.0064

    Bianca Beck and Josh Brand
    (Through April 12th)

    Rachel Uffner is among a few gallerists who opened up shop against all odds in 2008 during the banking crisis and have nonetheless thrived with artists like Sara Greenberger-Rafferty, Joanne Greenbaum, and Roger White. Upstairs this month, artist Bianca Beck presents a solo show of drawings, oil paintings, reliefs and sculptures, and is accompanied downstairs by the process-oriented photography and collages of fellow artist and partner Josh Brand.
    Bianca Beck, 2013

  • Sperone Westwater
    Sperone Westwater

    Sperone Westwater 257 Bowery | 212.999.7337

    Andrew Sendor: Delicates
    (Through April 11th)

    Just a few doors down from the New Museum is Sperone Westwater’s grand Foster + Partners designed building.  A visit to the gargantuan space alone is gratifying enough, though so are Andrew Sendor’s impossibly photorealistic paintings of an imaginary esoteric shop.

    Courtesy Sperone Westwater.  Photo, Jeff Sturges. 

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