The best Lower East Side art galleries

See our picks for the best Lower East art galleries presenting the latest trends in painting, sculpture and more
Photograph: Courtesy Derek Eller Gallery
By Howard Halle |
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Driven by rising rents in Chelsea—and by a backlash to the taste for monumentality that characterized the galleries there—dealers began decamping to the Lower East Side in search of a more workable model for exhibiting art, which meant thinking smaller and smarter. That was nearly 20 years, and today, while there are now dozens of spaces where there was once only a handful, the general atmosphere of the scene retains its funky vibe—this despite the influx of galleries from Chelsea (and even Uptown) that have either relocated to the LES entirely or set up branches there. Also unchanged is the focus on emerging artists. But don't take our word for it: Go see for yourself. And if you're searching for the must-see spots, look no further than our guide to the best art galleries on the Lower East Side. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to art galleries in NYC

Best Lower East Side galleries

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Photograph: Courtesy Bodega
Art, Galleries

Bodega

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

This gallery is a transplant to the Lower East Side from "the sixth borough"—i.e., Philadelphia—where it started in 2010 as an artist-run exhibition and performance space. The current venue is directed by two of the founders, Elyse Derosia and Eric Veit.

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Photograph: Courtesy 33 Orchard
Art, Galleries

33 Orchard

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

This Lower East Side gallery, which opened in 2014, functions as a kind of alternative space, offering a venue for gallerists and curators with no home of their own to mount exhibitions of contemporary art.

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3
Courtesy Canada
Art, Galleries

Canada

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

This side-by-side double storefront space was one of the pioneers of the Lower East Side–Chinatown gallery scene, opening way back in 2000. Since then, it's been joined by one major institution (the New Museum on the Bowery) and dozens of other venues. Canada still keeps it real, though, with a program that reflects the nabe's old-school, funky DIY aesthetic, as expressed by artists like Katherine Bernhardt, Jason Fox and Joanna Malinowska.

4
Jason Mandella
Art, Contemporary art

Chapter NY

icon-location-pin Midtown West

Chapter NY is a contemporary art gallery located on the Lower East Side. Gallerist Nicole Russo opened the space on Henry Street in 2013; three years later it moved to its present address.

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5
Photograph: Courtesy Derek Eller Gallery
Art, Galleries

Derek Eller Gallery

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

Derek Eller Gallery opened in 1997 as one of the pioneering contemporary spaces in Chelsea. In 2016, Eller moved to his current Broome Street address. Longtime names on the gallery roster include Alyson Shotz, Dan Fischer and André Ethier.    

6
Photograph: Courtesy Foxy Production
Art, Galleries

Foxy Production

icon-location-pin Chinatown

Foxy Production called Brooklyn home when it was first opened by owners Michael Gillespe and John Thomson in 2003. After jumping to Chelsea in 2006, it relocated again in 2016 to its current space, which was designed by London–based architects Matheson Whiteley. Notable for its abundance of natural light (three of its walls have windows), the gallery reps such artists as Hany Armanious, Olga Chernysheva and Violet Hopkins

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7
Photograph: Nicelle Beauchene Gallery
Art, Galleries

Nicelle Beauchene Gallery

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

A veteran of the Chelsea gallery scene, Nicelle Beauchene opened her gallery in 2008 at a storefront location on Eldridge Street. Over the following decade, she moved first to Orchard Street, and then to her current Broome Street address in a bi-level space she shares with Jack Hanley Gallery. Her roster of twenty- and thirty-something artists includes Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Jonathan Baldock and Alexander Tovborg.   

8
Photograph: Courtesy Marc Straus Gallery
Art, Contemporary art

Marc Straus Gallery

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

A former oncologist who co-founded of The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art in Peekskill, NY along with his wife, Livia, Marc Straus opened this contemporary art gallery on the Lower East Side in 2011 after spending 40 years as an art collector.

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9
Art, Contemporary art

Helena Anrather

icon-location-pin Chinatown

A former director at Taymour Grahne Gallery Helena Anrather had also previously worked at Lehmann Maupin and Galerie Yvon Lambert. Her eponymous gallery on the Lower East Side features work by emerging and mid-career artists.

10
Photograph: Charles Benton
Art, Contemporary art

Lucien Terras, Inc.

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

A former director at Paula Cooper, Terras joined co-worker Christopher D’Amelio in 1996 to open one of the pioneering galleries of the Chelsea art scene. The partnership dissolved after the 2008 financial crisis, and three years later, Terras opened this project space on the Lower East Side to focus on the work of established and mid-career artists.

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11
Photograph: Courtesy Bridget Donahue, NYC
Art, Galleries

Bridget Donahue

icon-location-pin East Village

Formerly director at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Bridget Donahue opened this contemporary art gallery in 2014. The gallery isn’t Donahue’s first: She was one of the four cofounders of Cleopatra’s in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

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Photograph: Courtesy Nathalie Karg
Art, Contemporary art

Nathalie Karg Gallery

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

In 1996, Nathalie Karg co-founded Chelsea's Anton Kern Gallery, named for her husband whom she divorced in 2012. Two years later, she opened her own gallery in Noho before moving to the Lower East Side in 2015. She currently represens a stable of ten young and mid-career artists that includes Joe Andoe, Jessica Craig-Martin and Joe Fyfe.

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13
Photograph: Van Doren Waxter
Art, Galleries

Van Doren Waxter

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

This Lower East Side gallery was started in 2007 originally as Eleven Rivington by Augusto Arbizo in conjunction with Van Doren Waxter Gallery. In 2017, the two galleries consolidated under the Van Doren Waxter name

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Photograph: Courtesy Gavin Brown's Enterprise
Art, Contemporary art

Gavin Brown’s Enterprise

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

Brown, whose program is known for edgy art, opened this location in 2014 in the neighborhood where edgy art abounds.

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15
Photograph: Charles Benton
Art, Galleries

Miguel Abreu Gallery

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

A filmmaker as well as a founding member of the legendary (now closed) Thread Waxing alternative space in Soho, Miguel Abreu ventured into dealing in 2006. Hosting a highly intellectual series of performances, art-theory seminars and film screenings as well as exhibitions, the gallery represents conceptually inspired artists and is among the Lower East Side's top venues.

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Invisible-Exports
Photograph: Courtesy Marianne Vitale
Art, Galleries

Invisible-Exports

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

Risa Needleman and Benjamin Tischer describe their venue as being dedicated to "superior Conceptual work," and if by that they mean art with a certain outré, countercultural edge, they'll get no argument here. Invisible Exports has hosted collages by legendary transgenderist and multimedia visionary Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, ellided images of vintage gay porn by Stephen Irwin, and Lisa Kirk's installational homages to revolutionary violence.

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17
JTT
Photograph: Courtesy JTT
Art, Galleries

JTT

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

Dealer Jasmin Tsou, a veteran of Maccarone and Kimmerich galleries, as well as Karma, the West Village bookshop and gallery, started this LES showcase for emerging and under-appreciated artists in 2012 with money she raised at the NADA art fair in Miami where she'd mounted a small project booth. The success of the gallery since then has meant that its roster of artists (among them, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Cole Sayer and Becky Kolsrud) are no longer under-appreciated.

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Photograph: Joerg Lohse
Art, Galleries

47 Canal

icon-location-pin Lower East Side

The term cutting-edge doesn’t have much meaning anymore, but if there was any gallery out there that you could say was still pushing the envelope, it would be 47 Canal. Run by artist Margaret Lee and her boyfriend Oliver Newton, the gallery originally opened on Canal Street around 2008 in a office kept by Lee as part of her day job managing Cindy Sherman’s studio. The gallery has since located to a second-floor location on Grand Street with a line-up of artists that includes Antoine Catala, Trevor Shimizu and Anicka Yi.

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19
Sargent’s Daughters
Photograph: Courtesy Sargent’s Daughters
Art, Galleries

Sargent’s Daughters

icon-location-pin Downtown

This contemporary-art venue is a joint venture by dealers Allegra LaViola and Meredith Rosen, and takes its name from American painting legend John Singer Sargent—an artist who, according the gallerists, "was an innovator working in a traditional medium." Accordingly, the gallery focuses on emerging artists whose work combines the same qualities of tradition and cutting edge.

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Salon 94 Bowery
Photograph: Courtesy Salon 94 Bowery
Art, Galleries

Salon 94 Bowery

icon-location-pin Nolita

Located just a few doors from the New Museum, Salon 94 Bowery is the downtown incarnation of the Upper East Side gallery started by dealer Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and husband Nicolas Rohatyn. The handsome below-street space accessed by a staircase just beyond the front door has surprisingly high ceilings, giving the room and expansive feel that serves the refined production values of gallery artists such as Huma Bhabha, Marilyn Minter and Laurie Simmons.

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