Nolita Neighborhood Guide: An Abundance of Art 

SSPNY Checks Out All the Best Art Scenes Around Nolita

SSPNY Heads to Nolita for One of the Best & Most Coveted Locales in Downtown Manhattan for an Enviable Number of Large Innovative Art Venues to Check out the Art Scene Anchored by the New Museum on Bowery Which Opened up in December of 2007.

Nolita is one of New York City's most coveted residential communities, both for its central location within downtown Manhattan (immediate neighbors include all of the hotspots of the Lower East Side, Chinatown, SoHo, NoHo, and the East Village), as well as its many more immediate pleasures. The last five years or so have seen an enviable influx of great neighborhood restaurants and cafes, plenty of high-end boutiques (especially along Elizabeth Street), and, not incidentally, a large number of innovative art venues. The Nolita art scene is anchored by the New Museum on Bowery, which opened in December of 2007, but also includes a number of fun, influential galleries as well as several internationally-recognized destinations for graffiti artists and street art fans. Here, then, is a quick look at some of my personal favorite art spots in the Nolita area...

SSPNY Also Checks Out a Number of Fun, Influential Art Galleries & Several Internationally-Recognized Destinations for Graffiti Artists and Street Art Fans Including The Hole Just North of Houston on Bowery Which is the Most Successful New Art Gallery to Open in Years Since Former Director at Deitch Projects, Kathy Grayson, Started Running it

The Hole
The Hole, located just north of Houston on Bowery, is possibly the most successful new art gallery to open anywhere in this town in years, both in terms of awesome exhibitions and talked-about events and opening parties. Kind of no surprise: The Hole is run by Kathy Grayson, former director at Deitch Projects (RIP), which was also known for its great parties, crazy events (the much-missed SoHo Art Parade among them), and excellent shows. Bonus: no matter how edgy and cool it is, the Hole's staffers are never anything but friendly and helpful. Go there often, get on their mailing list, this is why you live in New York City. Lots more Hole info here.

SSPNY Next Checks Out What Two Recent Additions Just Came to the Bowery-below-Houston Art Scene Including Sperone Westwater, Which has Three Levels of Gallery Space in a Super-Contemporary Foster + Partners Building That Opened in 2010.


SSPNY Even Peaks in Salon 94 Bowery Right Near the New Museum—The One with the Video Screen Facing Bowery. Also checking out Salon 94 Freemans Halfway Down the Alley and Made Famous by Taavo Somer’s Restaurant.

Sperone Westwater and Salon 94
These two recent additions to the Bowery-below-Houston art scene seem almost Chelsea-ish, with their gleaming interiors and frequent marquee names, but that's no reason to get all downtown reverse-snobby on them. Sperone Westwater has three levels of gallery space in the super-contemporary Foster + Partners building, and when it first opened in 2010 much was made of the giant elevator that was supposedly part of the art (or something?), but really, there's nothing really to see or feel when you're inside, and I now always take the stairs. Which I do often, because Sperone almost always has something good. More Sperone info here. It's also never a bad idea to pop into Salon 94 Bowery, right near the New Museum--it's the one with the video screen facing Bowery--and see what they've got going on in the basement. Usually the answer is: something cool. See also Salon 94 Freemans, about halfway down the alley made famous by Taavo Somer's namesake restaurant. The full Salon 94 scoop is here.

SSPNY Pops Up at Gallery Nine5 on Spring Street to See Things Specializing in Stuff from Street Art to Other Cartoonish Works.



SSPNY Checks Out Dodge Gallery on Rivington for a Variety of Odd Sculptural Pieces from “Early Career” Artists, Making Good Use of its Duplex Layout by Putting Pieces in it Such as This Steamroller-Slash-Music Box Downtairs.

Dodge Gallery, Gallery Nine5, Jen Bekman
These three have also been in my regular rotation for a few years now. Dodge on Rivington usually has a variety of wonderfully odd sculptural pieces from "early career" artists, and makes good use of its duplex layout, like when they stuck a huge, playable, steamroller-slash-music box downstairs, the better to view it from all angles. Dodge Gallery information can found here. Gallery Nine5 on Spring Street seems to specialize in stuff with a street art or cartoonish sort of sensibility, which generally hits my aesthetic sweet spot. See more about Gallery Nine5 here. And Jen Bekman, though best known for her excellent affordable-art 20x200 project, also has a tiny space on Spring, mostly given over to photographers. The Jen Bekman gallery info is here, but make sure to check out her 20x200 site too.

SSPNY Lastly Heads to Jen Bekman, Best Known for Her Excellent Affordable-Art 20x200 Project that is Located on a Tiny Space on Spring Street.



SSPNY Pops Up at Gallery Nine5 on Spring Street to See Things Specializing in Stuff from Street Art or Cartoonish Works. SSPNY Lastly Heads to Jen Bekman, Best Known for Her Excellent Affordable-Art 20x200 Project that is Located on a Tiny Space on Spring Street.

The Bowery Wall and the Bank Building
Finally, the Nolita nabe is home to two of Manhattan's most consistently vital street-art spots. Once the site of a legendary Keith Haring piece, the now professionally- curated Bowery wall (which is actually facing Houston) has for a couple of years been handed over to a series of the world's best streets artists, including Aiko, Shepard Fairy, JR, Faille, Retna, Kenny Scharf, and, currently, How and Nosm. I've managed to catch several of these artists in the process of putting up their pieces, and it's a treat to watch them work. Here's a nice slideshow of all the recent pieces. And the Bank Building on Spring and Bowery has a long history of being a must-tag (or wheatpaste) spot for every street artist who comes to town. Historical footnote: the building on the corner of Spring and Elizabeth used to be the same way, until it was gut renovated and made into condos. BUT, before they cleaned it up, the developers invited an all-star roster of artists to put up whatever they wanted all over the facade and throughout the interior. The subsequent three-day public exhibition drew hours-long lines and was one of the best art shows I've ever seen. Here's a post with pics on that event.

SSPNY Finally Heads to the Bank Building in the Nolita Nabe for One More of Manhattan’s Most Vital Street-Art Spots on Spring and Bowery Which Used to be a Sweet Spot for Street Artists all Over Town.

written on 04/10/2013

Posted in: Nolita


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