Monday, September 27, 2010

Lower East Side Gallery Update Update

By Charles Kessler

First the bad news:
Jane Kim/Thrust Projects is closed and supposedly looking for a new space.
Several alternative spaces may be closed, or at least not currently keeping regular hours:
  • Asia Song Society, 45 Canal Street. Their website proclaims: “PROUD TO SHOW ONLY ASIA ARTISTS” but no mention of any present of future shows.
  • 179 Canal, 179 Canal Street. Their website also has no upcoming exhibitions listed. I emailed them a query about their future plans but haven't heard anything yet.
  • Art Since the Summer of '69, 195 Christie Street, #303, is currently closed according to their website
  • Forever and Today, 141 Division Street, is closed while they prepare future projects. Their website says they "will be featured in several off-site exhibitions and programs during this time" and they will re-open in November. They're one of my favorites, so let's hope for the best.
Now the good news:

  • Frosch and Portmann, 53 Stanton (west of Eldridge where Smith-Stewart, Scaramouche and Luxe galleries used to be), seems potentially a very good gallery -- in any case they have a strong group show up now. Eva Frosch was a fellow at the Museum of Modern Art and was the Gallery Director at Jack the Pelican in Williamsburg, so I expect good things from them. On the downside, Amy Smith-Stewart told me that one of the reason she closed was because of the crime in the area. I hope that doesn't deter them. 
  • Next door, also 53 Stanton, is the new DACIA gallery. They are: "proud to be affiliated with the following arts organizations: Contaminate [a VERY slow site] and the European House of Arts."  I'm not sure exactly what that means for the gallery, but there it is. They also said they'll be offering art classes there soon. I must say they were very enthusiastic and eager to show me around, but there's something a bit amateurish about them and, sorry to say, the work they showed. (My friend Tom jokingly says for galleries there's an inverse correlation between friendliness and financial success. He unfortunately may have a point here.) 

The Friendly "Art on a Whim Gallery,"  Breckenridge, Colorado
  • The new Rooster Gallery, 190 Orchard Street (just south of Houston) was also closed, but their neighbors said they have been open occasionally. They will officially open October 21st with an exhibition entitled "Geography of Affection: Six Portugese Artists in New York."
  • Another new gallery to the LES is the Krause Gallery, 149 Orchard Street (just above Rivington). They will be closed September 30 - October 3 to attend the Affordable Art Fair, and the group show up now was pretty much thrown together, so it's going to be some time before I can really get a take on the gallery. 
  • I finally got to see James Fuentes's (55 Delancey at Eldridge) new, unpretentious space with few distractions, good light and pleasing proportions -- and in a much better location than his former Chinatown space.  Bard graduate Fuentes used to be Director of Deitch Projects and is a bright guy -- this gallery should be a major addition to the LES gallery scene.
    One thing really surprised me: one would expect a new gallery to open with their very best work, especially in the Fall, but none of them, including Sperone Westwater, did. And what's with all the group shows anyway? Don't they know the summer is over? Even many of the more established LES galleries don't seem to be putting out their best efforts. Canada, as usual, has a good group show, but they didn't even curate it themselves. What gives? 

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