Exploring Downtown Manhattan’s Art District

October 15, 2021 | Sarah Funky
Aerial NYC

If you were to visit New York City, you’d never run out of places and things of importance in this concrete jungle that is one of the most important cities in the world. The heart of NYC is Manhattan, and South of 14th street lies the best part of it, downtown. 

It is known for Greenwich Village, Tribeca, China Town, and the World Trade Center Memorial site. However, if you have a knack for art, the place you’d be the most interested in would be SoHo and Chelsea. The city, as a whole, is home to more than 80 art galleries.

One of the most important tips to visit NYC is not to miss any of the art galleries on this list and experience life and culture in the top cultural hotspots of the city.

The Cultural Hotspots of NYC

  • Hudson Yards is the most modern neighborhood in NYC and has more than 100 eateries. Experience local and international food and the modern NYC culture on an evening here.
  • The High Line is a 1.45-mile elevated linear park. It is the most popular place in NYC for art installations and public art.
The High Line today
The High Line today. Photo by ActionVance on Unsplash
  • Madison Square Garden, Situated right in the middle of Downtown Manhattan is the most famous arena in the world.
Photo by Chris Niwore on Unsplash
  • Chelsea Market was constructed in 1890 as a factory for the National Biscuit Company, Nabisco. It is the very place where Oreo was invented and first manufactured.

While other parts of the city might be famous for many reasons, the culture and art of NYC are displayed by the following like it is by no other place: 

Art Galleries in SoHo

Artists Space 

Situated at 11 Cortlandt Alley, New York, Artists Space is open Wednesday to Saturday, noon to 6 pm. This art gallery was established in 1972 and had since been fostering the cultural and artistic life of NYC. It is a place for all types and forms of artwork from NYC. 

This art gallery supports emerging ideas, artists, and forms of art. It is known for being connected to the social and interactive concerns of the contemporary era. 

If you want to understand and experience modern art from NYC, this place is great for that. 

The Drawing Center 

This is a non-profit art gallery situated in the SoHo neighborhood at 35 Wooster St, New York. Martha Beck started it in 1977. This exhibition space and library is a great way to explore drawing as the primary dynamic medium to understand contemporary art and see how it evolves into the future.

Since it was created, The Drawing Center has emphasized a variety of traditions of art. It is known for its distinctive interdisciplinary approach.

You can visit The Drawing Center any day of the week from 12 pm to 6 pm.

Brooke Alexander Gallery

A few steps from The Drawing Center (59 Wooster St, New York)is the Brooke Alexander Gallery, founded by Brooke and Carolyn Alexander in 1968. It was initially in a seafront store on East 68th street before moving here. 

This gallery has hosted some pretty remarkable exhibitions, including Barnett Newman, Dan Flavin/ Donald Judd: Sculpture and Works on Paper. You can find the work of some of the most prominent contemporary artists in this gallery, including Richard Tuttle, Matt Mullican, John Baldessari, Raymond Pettibon and Franz West.

This art gallery is open for visitors seven days a week between 10 am and 5 pm.

Art Galleries in Chelsea  

Matthew Marks Gallery 

Matthew Marks Gallery operates three locations, Chelsea, 523 West 24th Street, and 522 and 526 West 22nd Street. It was founded in 1991 and represents the work of 31 artists spanning different generations. The pieces of art on display here range across painting, sculptures, photography, and printmaking. 

This gallery holds thirteen to fifteen exhibitions a year, accompanied by many publications. 

All three locations of the Matthew Marks Gallery are open for art lovers from 10 am to 6 pm, Tuesday to Saturday.

Luhring Augustine Gallery 

This art gallery operates in three locations, Chelsea, Bushwick, and Tribeca. The Chelsea gallery is open for visitors from 10 am to 6 pm, Tuesday to Saturday. It focuses on paintings, drawings, sculptures, photos, and videography from a wide range of international contemporary artists.

You can find the masterpieces of Janine Antoni, Charles Atlas, Jonathan Berger, Larry Clark, Jeff Elrod, Tomm El-Saieh, and many more here.

Paula Cooper Gallery 

Situated at 524 W 26th St, New York, the Paula Cooper Gallery was founded by Paula Cooper in 1968. This gallery is known for holding exhibitions to support political and social causes like the end of the Vietnam war and March for Our Lives.

Other than displaying art, this gallery also holds concerts, music symposia, dance performances, book receptions, poetry readings, and other events to support various national organizations.

Experiencing the Art 

One of the most important things to experience the art that Downtown Manhattan offers is to live in this part of the city. The art is not just what’s on display inside these galleries. Everything from architecture to street art is a part of the art life of this city.

If you want to experience the art district of Downtown Manhattan, the best option to stay is Selina Hotel Chelsea, NYC. Staying here, you’ll find yourself right next to the iconic cultural hotspots of the city like Hudson Yards, The High Line, Madison Square Garden, and Chelsea Market. All the art galleries we’ve discussed and many others are within walking distance from the hotel. 

To Sum it Up 

New York City is known for many things. On top of the list is the abundance of art galleries in this city that display contemporary art of all types. These galleries are the most concentrated in the areas of Chelsea and SoHo. 

If you love art and go to NYC, do not miss the chance and visit the likes of Artists Space, The Drawing Center, Brooke Alexander Gallery, Matthew Marks Gallery, Luhring Augustine Gallery, and Paula Cooper Gallery. 

Another thing to note is to stay in the Chelsea or SoHo area to make sure you can experience the city and its art to the fullest.

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