Before Chelsea became New York’s largest gallery district—and even before Soho served as art-world central from the ’60s to the ’90s—Midtown was where the action was. Such dealers along 57th Street as Betty Parsons and Eleanor Ward were among the first to champion Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art during the ’50s and ’60s. As far back as the 1930s, the legendary gallerist Julien Levy used his Midtown space to mount the New York debuts of Frida Kahlo and Arshille Gorky. Today, Midtown continues to be a major gallery hub, noted for blue-chip shows of contemporary and historical artists. Here are 10 of the best Midtown art galleries that are must-visit destinations for art lovers.
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Best Midtown art galleries
This elegant gallery focuses on well-established contemporary American artists, most of whom, like Will Barnet, Neil Welliver and William King, take a figurative or realist approach. But Alexandre also shows the work of historical modern artists—Charles Demuth, Stuart Davis—working in the decades before the mid-century heyday of the New York School.
Photograph: Courtesy Alexandre Gallery
This expansive space is run by a veteran dealer with wide-ranging tastes whose exhibitions have run the gamut from drawings by Robert Ryman and Alex Katz to terra-cotta funerary figures from West Africa and colorful quilts by noted African-American folk artist Rosie Lee Tompkins.
Photograph: Courtesy Peter Blum Gallery
Boone will be forever linked to the go-go art market of the 1980s and the stars that flourished therein. She minted the careers of Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barbara Kruger, Eric Fischl and Ross Bleckner. Originally located in Soho, Boone moved to her Midtown address in 1996 (four years later she opened a branch in Chelsea). Boone showcases current superstars like Ai Weiwei, and still represents some of the artists (Kruger, Bleckner) from her ’80s heyday. They share the gallery’s roster with younger and mid-career names such as Kaws, Hilary Harkness and Jacob Hashimoto.
Photograph: Courtesy Mary Boone Gallery
The beginnings of this august gallery date all the way back to 1950, when Abstract Expressionism ruled as the house style of The New York School. De Nagy nurtured a number of artists who are now historical figures, among them Helen Frankenthaler, Red Grooms, Kenneth Noland and Larry Rivers. They remain a focus of de Nagy’s program, along with such figures as Nell Blaine, John Ashberry and John Newman.
Photograph: Courtesy Tibor de Nagy Gallery
Opened in 1977, Marian Goodman Gallery has become a mainstay of the Midtown gallery scene with a stable—John Baldessari, Maurizio Cattelan, Gabriel Orozco, Gerhard Richter, Thomas Struth—representing some of the biggest names in art today. Favoring a program that leans towards Europeans with a conceptual bent, Goodman started her namesake gallery after running Multiples, a hugely successful publisher of editions. In 1995, Goodman opened her first gallery in Paris, which was followed by another in 2016. In 2014, she expanded to London.
Photograph: Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery
Founded in 1963, Marlborough Gallery New York is one of the longest established of the city's blue-chip galleries. Its roster focuses on paintings and sculpture by prominent 20th-century and contemporary artists, with an emphasis on such critically acclaimed figures as Magdalena Abakanowicz, Frank Auerbach, Claudio Bravo, Richard Estes and R.B. Kitaj, among others. This group is joined by a new generation of artists, including Kcho and Rashaad Newsome.
Photograph: Courtesy Marlborough Gallery New York
A film and theater producer as well as an art dealer, Nahem hosts group and solo exhibitions of contemporary artists. One 2012 exhibit featured the work of Andreas Serrano of Piss Christ fame, which attracted the attention of Catholic League President and vocal Serrano critic Bill Donahue; when he attempted to visit the show, the gallery barred him from entering.
Photograph: Courtesy Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art
Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray and Francis Picabia are just some of the iconic names whose works have passed through this gallery run by Naumann, an expert on Surrealism, Dada and the early-20th century avant-garde in New York. Additionally, he shows current artists whose works carry on the Duchampian tradition.
Photograph: Courtesy Francis M. Naumann Fine Art
Originally founded in 1960 in Boston by dealer Arne Glimcher, Pace Gallery opened in New York in 1963. After operating as PaceWildenstein for seven years between 1993 and 2010, the gallery re-assumed the Pace name, and went on to open two galleries in Soho, as well as outposts in Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul, London and Palo Alto in Silicon Valley. Additionally, there is a Pace Primitive, which deals in African and Oceanic Art, and Pace/MacGill, a renowned photo gallery. But Pace pioneered the genre of museum-quality gallery exhibition in its East 57th Street space, with shows of Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso among others. The gallery also exhibits such heavy-hitters of contemporary art as Chuck Close, David Hockney and Julian Schnabel.
Photograph: Courtesy Pace Gallery