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The best Lower East Side art galleries

Looking for the best contemporary art galleries on the Lower East Side? We have six must-visit venues right here.

Photograph: Courtesy 11R

Although Chelsea is still home to the largest concentration of art galleries in New York (or the world for that matter), the gallery scene on the Lower East Side has been gaining prominence as the place to see work by some of the brightest young contemporary artists working today. Because most LES commercial spaces consist of small, funky store fronts (former bodegas, Chinese markets, etc.) the experience of looking at art is much more intimate than in your typical cavernous Chelsea space. Also there are tons more Lower East Side restaurants than there are on the far West Side. These differences may account for the increasing rate of galleries opening on the LES every year—a growth that also includes former Chelsea Galleries fleeing the nabe’s ever-surging rents. An afternoon checking out LES, then, is an afternoon well spent, and to help you get the most out of it, check out our list of the best art galleries on the Lower East Side.

RECOMMENDED: See the full guide to Lower East Side

Best Lower East Side galleries

1

Invisible-Exports

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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Lower East Side
2

JTT

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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Lower East Side
3

47 Canal

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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Lower East Side
4

Sargent’s Daughters

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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Downtown
5

Salon 94 Bowery

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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Nolita
6

11R Gallery

This Lower East Side gallery was started in 2007 as Eleven Rivington by Augusto Arbizo in conjunction with Greenberg Van Doren Gallery and recently consolidated its two galleries into one large space on Chyrstie Street while also changing its name to 11R.

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Lower East Side

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Comments

9 comments
Eli Rath
Eli Rath

I am so inspired by the ART shown at Woodward Gallery! The owners possess great integrity, knowledge and passion in their field. Have enjoyed many top notch, quality exhibitions and have been invited to lots of special events organized by the Woodwards. When I finally acquired a work of art from Woodward Gallery, it was handled from start to finish in the most professional, direct and respectful manner. Woodward Gallery is a real gem on the LES. I can't say enough about this terrific institution.

Theodore Plum
Theodore Plum

Woodward Gallery is so impressive. Did you see the Robert Indiana exhibition up now? Woodward is a museum quality exhibitor on the LES! There is always something new and interesting going on there. The director combines emerging artists, street art and blue chip work in their group exhibitions. Fine art education is offered freely... The best!

Rachel Wonderling
Rachel Wonderling

Great experiences at the Margo Feiden Galleries in Greenwich Village, my favorite gallery. I have visited the gallery many, many times and am always thrilled by being able to see all those Al Hirschfeld works close up. I’m a great admirer of Hirschfeld’s work, and so I’ve had occasion to both send images to the gallery to get information on them, and I’ve had images sent to me at my home Upstate, and in every case I was treated well and with absolute professionalism. The staff is extremely knowledgeable—I believe the Curator, Daria, has been there more than 30 years—and everyone is helpful and polite. I’ve even gotten to speak with and see Margo Feiden in person on more than one occasion, and those conversations about Hirschfeld have been absolutely fascinating. (Also, she is a lot of fun.) This gallery is most often on my list of places to visit when I’m in New York.

RC Smith
RC Smith

Woodward Gallery is a pioneer on the LES- the director is a creative scholar. Woodward Gallery fosters a roster of talented emerging artists mixed with contemporary masters. Have had a full art education through this venue. I have been open to the art of the LES, but have found there is no real comparison to the level of quality and service offered here. A real class act.

Karli
Karli

VECTOR Gallery (between Stanton and Clinton Sts) By far the most interesting art gallery to emerge in the past several years in The Lower East Side is VECTOR Gallery, a "conceptual art destination" that explores Satan as a postmodern emblem of change via multimedia installation and performance art. Unique and constantly changing, VECTOR Gallery is a new, transformative experience for all those who enter.

Nick Shah
Nick Shah

A multi-million dollar depression era carving of a chariot is available for sale. Size is 505 feet x 2.5 feet x 5 ft high. Contact me and I will send you an email with information and a photo. My phone number is 516-705-8758

El
El

My favorite Art Gallery is Woodward on Eldridge Street. Never miss an exhibition/never disappointed.

Charles Brown
Charles Brown

I sent an original Hirschfeld print to the Margo Feiden gallery (15 E 9th St) for Authentication and Appraisal services per their website. 60 Days have gone by and I still have yet to receive any documentation of Authenticity or Appraised Value. They cashed my check upon receipt and have yet to provide anything for it. In Texas we call this FRAUD. Buyer Beware, steer clear of this one.