As the epicenter of the art world, New York City is a haven for recently graduated MFA students and aspiring young artists from all over the world. Whilst blue-chip galleries populate the neighborhood of Chelsea, the Lower East Side and SoHo have become hot-spots for cutting edge art-dealers to pioneer emerging talent. The following list highlights the new key players of the developing art scene, which illustrates the city’s evolving future.
Installation view at Monitor Studio, New York | Courtesy the artists and Monitor Studio, New York
Laurel Gitlen was a pioneer of the Lower East Side gallery scene, opening her space in 2010. Her newly renovated outpost on Norfolk street hosts engaging exhibits by a prominent selection of young artists, including Anissa Mack and Allyson Vieira. Showcasing everything from photography, sculpture, painting and video, Gitlen gives her artists full control of the gallery space. For his second solo show, Bill Jenkins’ sculptural installation completely transformed the interior in an attempt to funnel light into a cistern. This pioneering spirit highlights Gitlen’s commitment to pushing traditional notions of art making.
Respected Rome-based gallery Monitor has recently opened a new space in the Lower East Side named Monitor Studio. Their cutting edge program in Italy features both young, emerging talent and older, established artists. Director Paola Capata is known for her artistic compassion and support, representing such artists as Guido van der Werve, Alexandre Singh, Francesco Arena, and Kostis Velonis. This autumn marks the beginning of an international exhibition program that will encourage dialogue between Monitor’s two spaces. Harnessing the power of their small space with strategic curatorial choices, confirms Monitor’s reputation as a critically grounded gallery that showcases accessible exhibits.
An early pioneer of the LES gallery scene Rahcel Uffner opened her first space in 2008. She recently moved from her original Orchard Street location to her current outpost on Suffolk Street. The newly renovated building has an airy, garage aesthetic that combines Chelsea chic with downtown vintage. Over the years, she has accrued a roster of 12 promising emerging artists including Sam Moyer and Vlatka Horvat. This venture coupled with the rising reputation of her artists further solidifies Rachel Uffner as a gallerina to watch.
Austrian native Simone Subal is a recent addition to the growing Lower East Side gallery scene. Her modestly sized space opened in 2011 on the second floor of a nondescript building at the edge of Chinatown. She hopes the location will inject meaning and discovery back into the gallery experience. Simone Subal consistently mounts engaging, critical shows of young emerging artists, such as conceptual minimalist Sam Ekwurtzel and abstract painter Brian O’Doherty. Subal’s background in curatorial studies is evident in the gallery’s expertly curated group shows, where more established names like Uri Aran and Joan Jonas appear.
Run by artist Margaret Lee and her partner Oliver Newton, 47 Canal has gained a steady following since opening in 2011. Lee’s first space at 179 Canal existed more as a party project. Despite only running for two years, this original outpost helped precipitate a group of like-minded artists. 47 Canal represents artists who explore how the intersection of technology and contemporary culture is changing humanity. This heavily weighted topic is transferred into a visual language by such artists as Josh Kline, Michele Abeles, and Antoine Catala. Lee and Newton make the artist a first priority, encouraging experimentation devoid of market constraints.
Cynthia Daignault, I love you more than one more day, 2013, Oil on linen, 365 parts: 10 x 15 inches each, Inv# CD080 | Courtesy Cynthia Daignault and Lisa Cooley
Lisa Cooley, another Lower East Side pioneer, opened her space in 2008 after working with established dealers Andrea Rosen and Nicole Klagsburn. Anchoring her gallery with a heavily conceptual program, Lisa Cooley is known for un-traditionally mounted exhibits. Do not be surprised to see paintings sitting on the floor or casually leaning against the wall. This approach imbues her space with an artistic element of discovery and chance. Her solo shows of mid-career artists Scott Reeder and emerging talent Cynthia Daignault have garnered acclaim while her carefully curated group shows consistently draw international attention. Lisa Cooley’s consistency and experimental attitude have helped define the neighborhood’s gallery scene.
A recent downtown arrival, Room East opened in 2012 and occupies a unique split-level gallery space. Named after a zine published by Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass 50 years ago, Room East hangs engaging group shows and solo presentations by established and emerging artists. Their well-conceived exhibits showcase young talent, earning them press in BlouinArt Info, The Gallerist, Whitewall, Mousse, the Daily Beast, and The New Yorker. They currently only represent four rising artists, but will undoubtedly grow as they continue to gain recognition for their high-quality programming.
This small, one room gallery tucked away in an alley prefers to be understated. Ramiken Crucible was founded in 2009 and is run by Mike Ursuta and Blaize Lehane. Their ‘no-fuss’ exhibits, devoid of standard press releases or wall text, have one agenda – to exhibit new art by emerging artists. This innovative attitude and persistence coupled with their ability to identify rising talent has championed young artists Andra Ursuta, Elaine Cameron-Weir and Gavin Kenyon. These artists represent a new genre of contemporary industrial sculpture that alludes to the changing theoretical discourse on the subject of the body in a technological age.
Part of a new group of galleries redefining the SoHo art scene, the Suzanne Geiss Company opened in 2011 on Grand Street. Over the past three years, they have mounted critically acclaimed shows by emerging artists such as Molly Lowe and established international groups like assume vivid astro-focus. They provide rigorous support to their artists, fully supporting and facilitating ambitious visions culminating in a program that presents historical exhibitions; established and emerging talent and site-specific projects. They also launched suzannegeiss.net, a digital platform exhibition space that highlights the gallery’s commitment to new media by allowing artists and groups to curate content for short periods of time.
Opened in 2010 under the Directorship of Joel Mesler and Carol Cohen, Untitled’s name originates from their desire to position artists at the center of their operation. Their large glass storefront, designed by Andrew Ong, defines their commanding Lower East Side presence whilst proclaiming them as a space that welcomes both artists and visitors. Their early support of artists Rashid Johnson and David Adamo, who have recently received wide spread critical acclaim, defines Untitled as a gallery on the forefront of emerging trends. They have continued to mount engaging shows by young artists that garner positive reviews, thus situating themselves as prominent on the downtown art scene.