Hoping to encourage more foot traffic, gallery owners Leslie Heller and Bart Keijsers Koning recently kicked off the inaugural L.E.S. Art Week, featuring exhibits at local galleries with a special emphasis on female artists or groups of female artists.
Laura Olivieri Robles took a closer look at some of the reasons for the decrease in gallery visitors in New York. This video was produced as part of our ongoing collaboration with New York City News Service for our Lower East Side Voices video series. She writes:
Galleries play a key role in the art world but art commercialization may change that. LES galleries are fighting to stay relevant with their inaugural LES Art Week celebrated last month.
Garis & Hahn Gallery Directors Mary Garis and Sophie Hahn with Andrea Pemberton who curated their inaugural show, “After the Fall,” which opened on January 11th.
As has been mentioned, the burgeoning art gallery scene on the L.E.S. is not showing any signs of slowing down — if anything, it feels like it’s speeding up. Three new arrivals – Garis & Hahn (263 Bowery), Shin Gallery (322 Grand St.) and Sasha Wolf Gallery (70 Orchard St.) have opened their doors in the last month. We spoke with the newcomers at Garis & Hahn, as they prepared to open their inaugural show last week. The show, “After the Fall,” features photography by seven Yale School of Fine Art MFAs.
Co-directors Mary Garis and Sophie Hahn met in graduate school at Christie’s, here in New York. They were both working in the art world and decided they wanted to start their own gallery about a year ago. Garis said they always knew they wanted to be on the L.E.S.; they didn’t even consider Chelsea. “We wanted to do something fresher and more contemporary. And we’re interested in fostering emerging young artists,” she said. “What’s going on down here on the Lower East Side is so cutting edge and exciting.”
At Charles Bank Gallery there’s a group show with a serious name: “Inglorious Materials.” But don’t be scared off, the show features the work of of five different artists who explore different permutations of collage that create a visual language all their own.
The works are constructed with found paper and objects with varying degrees of complexity. The interpretations of collage range from sculpture and installation to wallpaper and video.
Lesley Heller in her gallery, Lesley Heller Workspace, at 54 Orchard Street. Photo by A. Jesse Jiryu Davis
For some time we’ve been intrigued by the shows at Lesley Heller Workspace on lower Orchard Street. So I was excited to sit down with owner Lesley Heller recently to learn more about her approach to curating shows and hear about the sorts of work that makes an impact on her. Currently on view at Heller’s space are Tom Kotik and Head Case.
TLD: You moved your gallery to Orchard St. from the Upper East Side in 2010. What sparked the move?
Lesley Heller: I knew I wanted to move to a more dynamic neighborhood and I thought there were so many galleries in Chelsea. And the Lower East Side was just beginning to be a neighborhood of galleries. My gallery was on 92nd St. off Madison for two years, and 77th St. off Madison next to The Castelli for two years.