Neighborhood Highlights

Must-See Lower East Side

by Chris Wallace, 03/18/2014

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  • Gallery Go 'Round
    It's said that the best portraits of a city, culture or country are often painted by out-of-towners—those who see the place with fresh, unbiased eyes. That's certainly true of this neighborhood: over the last half of the last century, many of the area's immigrants were artists looking to live inexpensively, enterprising personalities who established a cohesive scene and opened the first of the great LES gallery spaces. About a decade after the events depicted in Downtown '81 (in which Jean-Michel Basquiat wandered the streets of the LES), Aaron Rose's famous Alleged Gallery opened on Ludlow, which helped launch the careers of Harmony Korine, Spike Jonze, Shepard Fairey and Mike Mills, among others. Though Alleged is now gone, the art scene in the neighborhood has never been stronger. The sleek, contemporary Mayson Gallery showcases work by emerging and innovative artists like Kenneth E. Parris III—who documented the final two-year world tour of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company—and modern abstract painter Andrei Petrov. Bosi Contemporary promotes the work of emerging artists, as well as exhibitions of more established artists, and special historical and guest-curated shows. And there's a nice art crawl to be had if you start at the lower edge of the neighborhood and head north; make stops at Invisible Exports on Orchard Street, Lehmann Maupin on Chrystie and Sperone Westwater on the Bowery.

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