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Art has existed for as long as humanity can remember and has always brought a sense of value and description to society. Apart from depicting the era it was created in, art is also often viewed as an array of emotions and it can be rightly said that it is ingrained in every individual, be it as a way of dressing, preparing, communicating, performing etc., Art is everywhere.
It can be rightly said that from the early morning sunrise till the time of sunset in the horizon and everything in between, everything is a form of art. It doesn’t necessarily always has to be a painting hung on a wall or sculptures carved out of stones or figures created out of clay to amuse and marvel at. Art can simply be anything.
For time immemorial, mankind has always indulged in various forms of art. From the ancient cave paintings in India to the renowned “Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh, art has always been a way of expression. Be it the darker side or the brighter side of a man living in a society, art has been giving shape to life. Igniting emotions, sparking imaginations, creating wonders and birthing inspirations it has been passed down from one generation to another and it is safe to say that this will continue to be the same.
Hence, in this article, you will read about some of the most renowned art gallery in Manhattan and the nearby areas and the various works they house. And if you are looking for a guide to stroll around these marvelous galleries then this article is just for you.
1. Art Galleries in Manhattan, New York
From handmade oil paintings on canvas or figures sculptures sculpted out of disfigured clay or a block of stone, to the present day form of art being made in those fancy i-pads and other gadgets, art will always live on.
2. 14 Best Art Galleries in and Around New York City
New York City has no shortage of any kind of entertainment and activities, be it a museum or an outdoor activity or a lively club or a romantic dinner place, or a simple roadside cafe or alluring art galleries.
Therefore, in the article given below are some of the top picks of art galleries in New York’s vicinity that you can check out.
2.1. David Zwirner Art Galleries
David Zweiner Art Galleries is one of the most renowned art galleries in New York City with three distinct locations in Manhattan and several others all over the world.
Son of a German art dealer, David Zwirner was born in Cologne in 1963. He opened his first gallery in New York in the year 1993 and at the present day, unlike other galleries, he owns an online channel where buyers from all over the world can resort or buy their favorite pieces or works online.
He represents various styles of contemporary art coming from different backgrounds and emerging artists which are all new and fresh on the scene. One of the most renowned contemporary artists whom he houses is Yayoi Kusama, who refers herself as “an obsessional artist” and “a heretic of the art world”. Suffering from hallucinations, she utilizes her flaw to inspire her works which in return gives it all a very unique approach.
Her works which focuses on sculpture, paintings and light installations is crowded with vivid polka dots and pliable gelatinous shapes. She is compelled to depict these visions in her works because she can genuinely see the polka dots and the space around her. To her “artwork is an expression of my life, particularly of my mental disease”.
2.2. Theta Gallery
Location: 184 Franklin Street, New York
Theta Gallery located in Franklin street in Tribeca founded by Jordan Barse (who was an artist, writer and a former director of Kimberly-Klark Gallery in Queens) stands out from the rest of the art galleries upper east side due to its entrance which is a pair of metal sidewalk cellar doors (the type which usually leads to a restaurant’s basement and not a contemporary art gallery.
Academy for the Sensitive Arts by artist Spencer Lai is presented on display. Wigged cylinder with round noses is seated on low tables and felted reliefs hang from the walls adjacent to colorful steel collages that resemble baby puzzles.
The tactile works and the sculptures low display hide gives the room an aura of a kid’s playroom but on close observation, this gallery reveals something darker.
Lai’s forms drawn from historical propaganda and imagery serves as a reminder that we begin to receive this information at a young age, irrespective of whether we like it or not.
2.3. Front Room Gallery
Location: 727 Warren Street, Hudson
The Front Room Gallery which was inaugurated in 1999 has prominently been one gallery to stop at for all the art enthusiasts.
They house some of the most well-known contemporary fine arts and most of the pieces here at display are linked to social responsibility including political, environmental and social topics and agendas.
They place a high line and significant emphasis on displaying photographs, conceptual and installation based works by emerging artists as well as well established artists; with a focus on photography visuals as well as integrating sculpture and video work in addition to its exhibition space.
The gallery also has public programs and organizes artist talks, screenings and performances.
2.4. Pace Gallery
Location: 540 West 25th Street, New York
The Pace Gallery opened by Arne Glimcher in 1960, Boston is one of the oldest art galleries and museums; it currently has 9 world-wide locations including New York City, California, London, Beijing, Hongkong and Paris.
Yoshitomo Nara’s art will immediately come to mind even if his name doesn’t ring a bell . Nara paints kids in his own peculiar manner, illustrating the resentment and rebelliousness nature of the younger generation. Nara has primarily focused his works on paintings and drawing but he has also, nevertheless, created sculptures and sketches.
He doesn’t always work on paper or canvas, occasionally, he also utilizes abandoned cardboard boxes for his artistic endeavours, demonstrating that art can be crafted anywhere.
Although Pace Gallery displays some amazing work of art, it’s Pace Art + technology program, debuted in 2016 distinguishes Pace Gallery apart from its rivals. This new curriculum examines how the new media will influence and impact the future of the art world and how art and technology interplay.
2.5. Brief Histories
Location: 115 Bowery, Lower east side, Manhattan
Despite the fact that Brief Histories only recently launched its second floor Bowery Site, the project actually started more than 10 years ago, as a response to the Arab Spring.
Fauz Kabra, the gallery’s co-founder, director and curator felt uprooted by the imposed restrictions on freedom of expression that dominated many of the nations which were impacted, so she began to reach out to relatives, co-workers and neighbors as well as friends to gather artistic responses to the major political and historical developments.
Now that she co-runs a permanent venue with the artist Isak Berbic, these artistic moves can be appreciated by new audiences in ‘unconventional ways’.
The gallery has so far hosted five exhibitions including its solo show and most recent exhibition “late night strollers” that showcased Palestinian artist Jumana Manna’s work in Berlin.
2.6. Someday Gallery
Location: 120 Walker Street, 3R, Chinatown, Manhattan
The third-floor gallery space of the building which is just a few steps from the Canal Street Subway stop can be accessed directly from the ground floor of the elevator via the use of an ancient wooden floor, a tin ceiling and several visible pipes and wiring.
Artist Oba’s exquisite Nosferasta was on display. For this, the artist designed sophisticated mixed-media sculptures that coupled with Mona Lisa, stimulating historical and religious iconography.
Additionally, the program also featured a loop of Oba’s narrative film Nosferasta: First Bite from 2021, which was produced in association with the directors Adam Khalil and Bayley Sweitzer.
The film recounts Oba’s fictional origin story as a Rastafarian vampire who was bitten by Christopher Columbus and helped to spread the scourge of Colonialism throughout the “New World”.
2.7. James Fuenter LLC
Location: 55 Delancey St, Lower East Side
In the heart of NYC, there is a gallery of modern art named James Fuenter LLC.
This lower east side gallery was established in 2007 by James Fuenter with an emphasis on showing prominent and experimental works by promising and famous artists.
James Fuenter LLC has acquired a reputation for showcasing some of the most intriguing contemporary arts.
Site specific sculptures, installations and films by famous artists like Al Souza, Edgar Arceneauxm, Lou Beach, Toby Buonagurio, Vincent Fecteau, Mike Kuchar, Jules De Balincourt and many more, are on exhibit in the gallery.
2.8. Sperone Westwater
Location: 257 Bowery, New York
Sperone Westwater, a contemporary art gallery was set up in 1975 in Soho, back when artists actually lived there, by German art dealer Konrad Fischer, Angela Westwater, and Italian art dealer Gian Enzo Sperone. In 1982, Sperone Westwater acquired the gallery’s abbreviated name.
In 2002, it relocated to West 13th Street in the Meatpacking District. Following eight years, the gallery migrated to its current location, an eight-story, custom-built exhibition space designed by prominent architects Foster + Partners.
A distinctive feature of the location is a moving exhibition hall, which is actually a 12-by-20-by-13-foot elevator that can be attached to any floor to expand the viewing area.
2.9. Van Doren Waxter
Location: 23 East 73rd Street, Upper East Side
Both of its two locations; Upper East Side and Lower East Side, conducts full exhibition programs for the combined gallery which goes by the name Van Doren Waxter.
Van Doren Waxter accomplished an outstanding achievement by blending the seasoned with the up-and-coming, fostering relative newcomers Evan Nesbit and Mariah Robertson while representing mainstays like Richard Diebenkorn and Anne Triutt.
Their strength is in their equal adherence to both new and the ancient with presentations and fair booths that continually make use of and proudly present an extensive range of decades’ work in their stable.
2.10. Gagosian Gallery
Location: 555 West, 24th Street
There wouldn’t have been any flourishing art galleries in New York City or even David Zwirner without Larry Gagosian. In 1980, the Gagosian Gallery unveiled its very first location at Los Angeles. There are currently 18 locations spread across over the United States, Europe and Asia.
The first gallery that established a publishing business, publishing books and magazines of its artists’ work, was Gagosian.
Even a Gagosian Store with rare art editions, books, cameras and jewelry can be found in New York.
Large-scale pieces can be installed with ease in drawing center of these spacious galleries, such as, any Richard Serra sculpture or even expensive murals like Roy Lichtenstein’s “Greene Street Mural“.
2.11. Paula Cooper Gallery
Location: 534 West 21st Street, New York
Paula Cooper, an influential female figure in the art world, established SoHo’s first art gallery, Paula Cooper Gallery in 1968.
In NYC’s art galleries, especially in the 1960’s, men took precedence. Paula Cooper stands out from the competition, thanks to the historic gallery she still maintains after more than 50 years.
Numerous well-known artists’ works have been featured over the lengthy history of the art gallery in New York City.
The inaugural exhibition, held in 1968, served as a fundraiser for the Student Mobilization Committee, an organization fighting to stop the Vietnam War. The works by Carl Andre and Dan Flavin were on display in the exhibition.
Sophie Colle and other well-known female artists are represented by Paula Cooper in her gallery.
Colle who is a specialist in both poetry and photography is fascinated by how people are. She captures strangers using her bed in one of her pieces. She follows strangers in another piece and wonders about their true selves. The spectator is meant to be consumed by the outer world in order to be compelled to write about who they truly are.
2.12. Sean Kelly Gallery
Location: 475 10th Ave, Hudson Yards
Sean Kelly, a British-born founder of the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York City, specializes in representing established and mid-career artists, particularly those individuals whose works are based in installations and performance.
The gallery takes chances for its artists by hosting several shows that make use or alter the expansive gallery space an frequently go beyond the idea of the conventional “white cube”.
2.13. The Drawing Center
Location: 35 Wooster Street, New York
The Drawing Center is a gallery devoted to working artists who use the drawing medium. The Drawing Center was established in 1977 by Martha Beck, who was a curator at MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art History).
Beck believed that drawing required a home among the great works and the magnificent pieces of paintings, photographs and sculptures that were exhibited on the walls and floors of art galleries throughout NYC.
“Labyrinth”, an installation by Chicago-based artist Edie Fake, merges architecture and sketching. The Labyrinth pays respect to the Labyrinth Foundation, a group that aided “trans men” in 1960s. The painting engulfs the spectator as they enter the picture plane.
Powerful and lovely compositions of the corkscrew columns and other features stands for the life-path a trans man must travel.
2.14. The Kitchen
Location: 163 Bank Street
The Kitchen is a non-profit (completely free) performance venue that presents contemporary art in an array of media, from film installations to dance and music performances.
The Kitchen was started by Woody and Steina Vasulka in 1971. Their objective was to establish an art gallery and to secure an environment for experimental artists in New York City. It still continues to be one of the prime venues for performance art.
The Kitchen is impressive because it gives up-and-coming artists a platform to showcase their work.
Cindy Sherman too worked here at the initial stages of her career.
In addition, The Kitchen also hosts talks by international artists.
Yes, visiting a museum, or a theme park or just simply taking a casual stroll around the new city is what is considered by many people most often “to spend a leisure time”, or perhaps “to take a break” from the monotonous day to day life.
But if you are looking for something new and something fresh to add to your list, then visiting the art galleries and museums which depict the importance of art history as well as promote and represent the novices of the modern generation, who all bring a fresh new page of imaginative and modernist ideas, might give you a new fondness you never thought you had.
Art, as we all know, is a form of expression. Hence, you never know what you might discover in those spaces laden with inspiring works by renowned, mid-career as well as emerging artists. But one thing is for sure, it is bound to leave your eyes gazing with awe and your mind wonder with amazement.
Hence, the above listed 14 art galleries are the best ones to pay visit to while being in Manhattan or in New York City at large.