New York Art Guide

The exact date that New York became the perceived centre of the Western art world is debatable. Some say it was in the early 1940s—during World War II—when a number of European artists immigrated to the United States. Others argue that it was not until Abstract Expressionism was established later that decade. Regardless, over 70 years after Willem de Kooning had his first solo gallery exhibition at Charles Egan Gallery on 57th Street in 1948, New York remains an art world powerhouse.

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One reason for New York's significance is the city's many well-endowed cultural institutions. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, founded in 1870, houses a behemoth collection that encompasses over two million works of art made over a period of 5,000 years. Devoted to the evolving story of contemporary art around the world, The Museum of Modern Art holds 200,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, media and performance art works, architectural models and drawings, designed objects, and films.

Other notable institutions dedicated to modern and contemporary art include the famed Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, designed by the legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, founded in 1930 by sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. MoMA PS1—an offshoot of the stalwart Museum of Modern Art—has been one of the largest American non-profit art institutions since its establishment in 1971, while The Met Breuer—the recently opened annex to The Metropolitan Museum of Art—provides ample opportunity to encounter 20th- and 21st-century masterpieces on Madison Avenue.

The concentration of galleries in New York is perhaps most important to its status in the art world. In total, the city is estimated to contain close to 1,500 galleries. These galleries range from blue chip institutions to non-profit art spaces and artist-run initiatives. While these spaces are spread out across the city's five boroughs, many of them can be found in the following six neighbourhoods: Chelsea, the Lower East Side, Soho, 57th Street, Williamsburg/Bushwick/Greenpoint, and Dumbo.

Chelsea—a former industrial neighbourhood ripe with wide-open warehouse spaces along the far west side of Manhattan between 14th and 34th Streets—is home to mega-galleries Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner, Gagosian, Pace, Anton Kern, Gladstone, Marianne Boesky, and Lehmann Maupin, among many, many others. DIA Chelsea—the New York branch of the DIA Foundation—is one of the notable non-profit spaces in the area.

The Lower East Side is often cited as home to the more avantgarde or experimental spaces. These include Bodega, Chapter NY, CANADA, JTT, 47 Canal, Invisible Exports, Zach Feuer Gallery, 33 Orchard, Foxy Productions, and Sargent's Daughters. More traditional contemporary art galleries—such as Sperone Westwater and Lehmann Maupin—also have strong presences in the neighbourhood. Extending from Chinatown to Houston Street, the art scene centres around Manhattan's only museum devoted to contemporary art: the New Museum on the Bowery. Recently opened spaces in the area include the Brant Foundation Art Study Center, located in a century-old building previously designed for Consolidated Edison and later used as the home and studio of Walter De Maria until his death in 2013.

Adjacent to the Lower East Side is the gallery district of Soho, once the thriving center of the avantgarde. Though not the epicentre it once was, significant current residents include the Drawing Center, Team Gallery, Jeffery Deitch, and Walter De Maria's Earth Room.

57th street and the Upper East Side have similarly ceded dominion over the art world, but continue to house internationally renowned galleries. These are Pace, Gagosian, and Salon 94, among others, as well as standalone institutions such as Craig F Starr, Acquavella Galleries, Half Gallery, and Venus Over Manhattan.

The six neighbourhoods listed above are also home to the city's auction houses, with Christie's located at 20 Rockefeller Plaza, Sotheby's at 72nd street and York Avenue, and Phillips on Park Avenue.

If you really want to see where the cool kids hang, visit the sprawling neighbourhood of Williamsburg/Greenpoint/Bushwick, which in recent years has become the centre of the art, music, and food scenes in New York. Notable galleries include Front Room, Sideshow, Soloway Fine Art, and Figureworks. Dumbo—another neighbourhood in Brooklyn—holds more studio spaces than it does galleries, but it is worth visiting the art spaces—among them Art in General and AIR—if only for views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges just down the street.

Further into the borough, the evolving Brooklyn Museum has been making a splash in the art world since 1999, when then-mayor Rudy Giuliani threatened to close the institution for its exhibition Sensation. It had included Chris Ofili's now-iconic The Holy Virgin Mary (1996), a work that depicted the Madonna as a black woman made of elephant dung. New York, as residents know, has never been afraid to confront the powers-that-be with revolutionary culture, and that remains true today, even in an increasingly safe and wealthy metropolis.


Current Exhibition | New York
21 May–11 July 2020
Phillip Allen
Miles McEnery Gallery View Exhibition
Phillip Allen, DeepDrippings (HissOvian Version) (2020) (detail). Oil on board. 31.1 x 26.7 cm. Courtesy Miles McEnery Gallery.
Current Exhibition | New York
21 May–11 July 2020
Isca Greenfield-Sanders
Miles McEnery Gallery View Exhibition
Isca Greenfield-Sanders, Island (2020) (detail). Mixed media oil on canvas. 160 x 160 cm. Courtesy Miles McEnery Gallery.
Current Exhibition | New York
21 May–30 June 2020
Josh Smith

High As Fuck

David Zwirner View Exhibition
Josh Smith, Untitled (2020) (detail). Courtesy David Zwirner.
Current Exhibition | New York
30 April–20 June 2020
Shirazeh Houshiary

A Thousand Folds

Lehmann Maupin View Exhibition
Shirazeh Houshiary, Reverie (2018) (detail). Pigment, pencil, and black aquacryl on canvas and aluminium. 190 x 270 cm. Courtesy Lehmann Maupin. 
Current Exhibition | New York
12 March–11 July 2020
Donald Judd

Artwork: 1980

Gagosian View Exhibition
Donald Judd, untitled (1980). Plywood. 12 x 80 x 4 feet / 3.7 x 24.4 x 1.2 m. © 2020 Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy Gagosian. Photo: Rob McKeever.
Current Exhibition | New York
6 March–6 June 2020
Richard Long

FROM A ROLLING STONE TO NOW

Lisson Gallery View Exhibition

Exhibition view: Richard Long, FROM A ROLLING STONE TO NOW, Lisson Gallery, West 24th Street, New York (6 March–18 April 2020). © Richard Long. Courtesy Lisson Gallery.

Current Exhibition | New York
5 March–31 May 2020
Lari Pittman

Found Buried

Lehmann Maupin View Exhibition
Exhibition view: Lari Pittman, Found Buried, Lehmann Maupin, New York (5 March–31 May 2020). © Lari Pittman. Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul. Photo: Matthew Herrmann.
Current Exhibition | New York
5 March–27 June 2020
Group Exhibition

Duino Elegies

Gagosian View Exhibition
Cy Twombly, Duino (1967) (detail). Oil-based house paint and waxed crayon on canvas. 70 x 58 inches / 177.8 x 147.3 cm. © Cy Twombly Foundation. Courtesy Gagosian. Photo: Rob McKeever.
Current Exhibition | New York
29 February–6 June 2020
Joanna Pousette-Dart
Lisson Gallery View Exhibition

Exhibition view: Joanna Pousette-Dart, Lisson Gallery, 138 Tenth Avenue, New York (29 February–18 April 2020). © Joanna Pousette-Dart. Courtesy Lisson Gallery.

Current Exhibition | New York
28 February–30 May 2020
Jennifer Guidi

Gemini

Gagosian View Exhibition
Exhibition view: Jennifer Guidi, Gemini, Gagosian, West 24th Street, New York (28 February–30 May 2020). Artwork © Jennifer Guidi. Courtesy Gagosian. Photo: Rob McKeever.
Current Exhibition | New York
28 February–14 August 2020
Arlene Shechet

Skirts

Pace Gallery View Exhibition
Exhibition view: Arlene Shechet, Skirts, Pace Gallery, New York (28 February–14 August 2020). © Arlene Shechet. Courtesy Pace Gallery.
Current Exhibition | New York
26 February–30 May 2020
Roe Ethridge

Old Fruit

Gagosian View Exhibition
Exhibition view: Roe Etheridge, Old Fruit, Gagosian, 976 Madison Ave, New York (26 February–30 May 2020). Artwork © Roe Ethridge. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photo: Rob McKeever.
Upcoming Exhibition | New York
18 June–11 July 2020
Kyle Dunn

Into Open Air

P·P·O·W Gallery View Exhibition
Courtesy P·P·O·W Gallery
Upcoming Exhibition | New York
9 July–14 August 2020
GaHee Park
Perrotin View Exhibition
© GaHee Park. Courtesy Perrotin.
Upcoming Exhibition | New York
9 September–17 October 2020
Zach Harris
Perrotin View Exhibition
Courtesy Perrotin.

Current Exhibitions In New York

View All Past Exhibitions (973)
Contemporary art exhibition, Phillip Allen, Phillip Allen at Miles McEnery Gallery, New York
21 May–11 July 2020 Phillip Allen Miles McEnery Gallery, 520 West 21st Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Isca Greenfield-Sanders, Isca Greenfield-Sanders at Miles McEnery Gallery, New York
21 May–11 July 2020 Isca Greenfield-Sanders Miles McEnery Gallery, 525 West 22nd Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Josh Smith, High As Fuck at David Zwirner, New York
21 May–30 June 2020 Josh Smith High As Fuck Josh Smith Studio Brooklyn, NY
Contemporary art exhibition, Shirazeh Houshiary, A Thousand Folds at Lehmann Maupin, New York
30 April–20 June 2020 Shirazeh Houshiary A Thousand Folds Lehmann Maupin, 501 West 24th Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Donald Judd, Artwork: 1980 at Gagosian, New York
12 March–11 July 2020 Donald Judd Artwork: 1980 Gagosian, West 21st Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Richard Long, FROM A ROLLING STONE TO NOW at Lisson Gallery, New York
6 March–6 June 2020 Richard Long FROM A ROLLING STONE TO NOW Lisson Gallery, West 24th Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Lari Pittman, Found Buried at Lehmann Maupin, New York
5 March–31 May 2020 Lari Pittman Found Buried Lehmann Maupin, 501 West 24th Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Duino Elegies at Gagosian, New York
5 March–27 June 2020 Group Exhibition Duino Elegies Gagosian, 980 Madison Avenue, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Joanna Pousette-Dart, Joanna Pousette-Dart at Lisson Gallery, New York
29 February–6 June 2020 Joanna Pousette-Dart Lisson Gallery, 10th Avenue, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Jennifer Guidi, Gemini at Gagosian, New York
28 February–30 May 2020 Jennifer Guidi Gemini Gagosian, West 24th Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Arlene Shechet, Skirts at Pace Gallery, New York
28 February–14 August 2020 Arlene Shechet Skirts Pace Gallery, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Roe Ethridge, Old Fruit at Gagosian, New York
26 February–30 May 2020 Roe Ethridge Old Fruit Gagosian, 976 Madison Avenue, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Kyle Dunn, Into Open Air at P·P·O·W Gallery, New York
18 June–11 July 2020 Kyle Dunn Into Open Air P·P·O·W Gallery, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, GaHee Park, GaHee Park at Perrotin, New York
9 July–14 August 2020 GaHee Park Perrotin, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Zach Harris, Zach Harris at Perrotin, New York
9 September–17 October 2020 Zach Harris Perrotin, New York

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New York In Ocula Magazine

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Gary Simmons: History as Residue Ocula Conversation Gary Simmons: History as Residue By Casey Carsel, New York

Looking at the racial stereotypes of 20th-century cartoons, Gary Simmons' canvases are palimpsests in which history is written and rewritten, yet never fully disappears.

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The Latest: Venice Biennale Delayed till 2022, Olafur Eliasson's AR Bugs, and More Ocula News The Latest: Venice Biennale Delayed till 2022, Olafur Eliasson's AR Bugs, and More Hong Kong, 19 May 2020

This week's need-to-know art news, including Christie's new global auction and an attempt at a fairer art fair by the New Art Dealers Alliance.

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Sotheby’s Announces ‘Buy-now’ Partnership With New York Galleries Ocula News Sotheby’s Announces ‘Buy-now’ Partnership With New York Galleries New York, 29 April 2020

The Sotheby's Gallery Network is being presented as a way to support galleries during the pandemic and help collectors access coveted works.

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In a Rebuke to Power Lists, Collecteurs Announces Substance 100 Ocula News In a Rebuke to Power Lists, Collecteurs Announces Substance 100 New York, 10 April 2020

Digital Museum Collecteurs has announced its list of the top 100 artists and activists making global change.

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