Art galleries can be intimidating. Here, a guide to the Lower East Side for the uninitiated.
An ever-growing cluster of art galleries dominates the Lower East Side. But navigating a scene that can appear at once vast and exclusive can be daunting.
But the artists represented in these mostly small galleries-some no larger than a Manhattan studio apartment-show work that begs to be seen. With more than 100 galleries on the Lower East Side alone, taking in the scene piece by piece-or block by block-makes gallery-going less intimidating.
So take a springtime stroll down Orchard Street, and give these galleries a shot.
Julie Meneret Contemporary Art
133 Orchard St. between Delancey and Rivington Streets
A gallery so new that the awning still bears the faded lettering of the shop that previously occupied the space, this small gallery opened last November and exhibits work by emerging international artists. The space is small and white-washed, and owner Julie Meneret offers a pleasant explanation of the current artist's work, methods and intentions. The gallery, which is on its third exhibition, collaborates with arts organizations to host talks, readings and performances; at the opening of the current exhibit by British photographer Jonny Briggs, poet Saskia Hamilton read original poetry inspired by Briggs' work.
The upcoming exhibit opens April 2 and will feature dance performances by artist Frederic Nauczyciel on May 3, 4 and 5, presented in collaboration with the French-American Dance Festival.
Current Exhibit: Jonny Briggs, "Monstrares," through March 30
Upcoming Exhibit: Frederic Nauczyciel, "The Fire Flies [Baltimore/Paris]," April 2-May 18
Wednesday-Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday: Noon to 6:00 p.m.
Sasha Wolf Gallery
70 Orchard St. between Broome and Grand Streets
Opened about a year ago, Sasha Wolf Gallery exclusively shows photography, with an emphasis on contemporary work by emerging or mid-career photographers, who favor documentary-style composition. The black and white photographs in the current exhibit from Matthew Pillsbury contrast starkly against the white walls, white ceiling, and light wood flooring of the gallery, an otherwise bright, narrow space reminiscent of a railroad-style apartment. Administrative director Juhee offers a cheery welcome and happily recommends lunch spots, especially Vanessa's Dumplings on nearby Eldridge Street.
Current Exhibit: Matthew Pillsbury, "Nate and Me" (courtesy of Bonni Benrubi Gallery), through April 20
Upcoming Exhibit: Peter Kayafas, "The Way West," April 23-June 8
Wednesday-Sunday: Noon to 6:00 p.m.
322 Grand St. at Orchard Street
Shin Gallery, at Orchard and Grand Streets, is housed in a corner unit once occupied by pop-up art space CollectiCo, before the permanent gallery moved in about a year ago. At first glance, the space looks more like a boutique than a gallery, with warm-hued wood floors and high ceilings with exposed pipes. Shin Gallery specializes in Korean contemporary art and aims to provide an international platform for emerging Korean artists, many of whom have never exhibited in the United States. The gallery shows a variety of media, and leans toward the experimental. Thanks to the high ceilings, Shin Gallery can exhibit large pieces: the current show features several 7-foot canvases.
Current Exhibit: Jong-Wan Choo, "The Diminished Virtue," through April 11
Upcoming Exhibit: Gunwoo Shin, "Watch the Butterfly Falling," April 18-June 20
Wednesday-Sunday: 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.