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Art Worth Seeing on the Lower East Side

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This week, we’ve asked artist Walter O’Neill, director of  the Educational Alliance’s Art School, to recommend some openings and exhibits in the neighborhood. Here are his top picks (and some great bits of insight):

Orchard Street, below Delancey, seems to have become the main street for contemporary art galleries on the Lower East Side. In the few blocks between Delancey and Canal Street there are at least eight galleries. (!) Next door to the Tenement Museum, Bridge Gallery has a mini-retrospective of the exuberant paintings of Marjorie Strider.


Strider was one of the few female pop artists in the 1960’s, as well as being on the forefront of the Feminist Movement. Her “Girlie” paintings bridge these styles.  Don’t miss the few examples of her sculptural paintings with bikini clad figures half emerging out of the canvas. The recent works on paper demonstrate the artist’s skill and ability in creating complex, beautiful images. 98 Orchard St.  On exhibit until May 11.

Down the block, Leslie Heller Workspace is a recent addition to Orchard Street.  The space is a dual-exhibition venue; it combines the main gallery with an independently curated project space. Opening on Tuesday, April 27, from 6-8pm is an over-the-top installation-wonderland creation by Ming Fay.

Monkey Pot, by Ming Fay 2008 28" x 26" x 26" Foam, paint, wire, wood, paper pulp


You have probably already enjoyed Mig Fay’s work if you take the subway. The glass mosaics of blue waters, giant fish and cherry orchard at the Delancey Street subway station were designed by Fay.

In the back gallery, the show “Cognitive Unconscious” is an excellent pairing with Ming Fay’s fantasy.

Survey - detail 3 by Charlotte Schulz

This group exhibit of work by Mary Carlson, Charlotte Schulz, Charles Yeun, Nick Ghiz and Seth Michael Forman brings together artists whose work is based in personal, imaginative and often ambiguous narrative. 54 Orchard St. On exhibit until June 6.

[Located on Orchard between Hester and Canal Street are 6 more galleries: Miguel Abreu Gallery, Rachel Ruffner Gallery, Stephan Stoyanov Gallery, Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, Invisible-Exports Gallery and Lisa Cooley Gallery. Visit our ARTS Page for our comprehensive list of galleries on the Lower East Side.]

Opening on Tuesday, April 27, 6-9pm at AllegraLaViola Gallery (179 East Broadway), is an exhibit of two painters of luscious surfaces.

Old Subway Sun - by Erik Jeor
Allison Gildersleeve - Through Trees 2009

While very different, both Allison Gildersleeve and Erik Jeor have a remarkable skill in making seductive surfaces.  Their imagery and subject matter is completely different which makes this exhibit all the more interesting.

Thierry Goldberg Projects at 5 Rivington St. consistently presents interesting exhibits.  Opening Friday, April 30, 6-8pm is a group exhibit of abstract paintings. Although abstract painting has been around for over a century, the visual dialogue about abstract painting remains active.  These six young painters straddle the intuitive and the planned, gesture and non-gesture, completely abstract or referential, the brush stroke as meaningful or insignificant. Kadar Brock, Logan Grider, Joyce Kim, Luis Macias, Mark Schubert and Stas Volovik.

Have you seen the brilliant Matisse inspired street mural on Eldridge Street?:

Celso's Sardana on Eldridge Street via the Woodward Gallery

It is a great painting for the spring. The graffiti artist El Celso was commissioned by Woodward Gallery (133 Eldridge Street) to paint it.  Opening on May 8 the gallery will have an exhibit of street and graffiti art.  But on exhibit until May 1st is a show of classic abstract expressionist paintings by Natalie Edgar.  A friend of art world legends such as Franz Kline and Willem De Kooning.  The paintings on exhibit are all recent but Ms.Edgar has been painting a long time and it shows, she is a virtuoso with color and brush. It is a great pleasure to explore the balance of color, composition and brush stroke in these evocative abstract paintings.

Walter O’Neill, an artist who paints in oil and is a master of the traditional technique of true fresco, is the Director of the Educational Alliance Art School.  The Educational Alliance  offers classes for adults and teenagers. Classes in Ceramics, Drawing, Knitting, Painting, Photography and Sculpture.

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