Getting Funky On The Lower East Side

Hands down the most hip area of Manhattan for art, the New York Times had it right when they noticed a new spell of art being awakened on the Lower East Side back in 2007 with their article entitled “An Upbeat Moment for a Downtrodden Area.” We can confidently report back that this trend has A) Definitely happened, (B) Continues to be propagated with more and more art spaces opening up on the LES, and (C) Fulfilled our deepest needs for young, fresh and creative talent in NYC. From music venues turned into art spaces, such as can be seen at Arlene’s Grocery and ABC No Rio, to contemporary art galleries housing some of the best contemporary art in NYC, and art spaces which continue to liven up the art scene in NYC, bringing the community together through art installations and performances. With so much to do and see, we thought we’d make it easier for you, our traveling art enthusiasts, by listing out the top spots that are a must-see for the NYC art world!

1) Arlene’s Grocery: Arlene’s Grocery is mainly known as a music venue that hosts diverse acts of musicians from rock, to alternative and indie rock every night a week. Their well-equipped bar and lounge has now become an art gallery and will showcase some of the best art from around NYC.

2) NOoSPHERE Art Space: NOoSPHERE is an international art space that brings artists from around the world to NYC to showcase their artwork. Artist-initiated and not-for-profit, this space holds exhibitions, performances and other programs for the public. 

3) Bosi Contemporary: Bosi Contemporary has made our list as one of the best galleries for contemporary art on the Lower East Side with an international scope and vision. Exhibiting both emerging and already well-established artists, this gallery always has on a  unique show that is bound to impress.

4) Blackston: Blackston presents shows throughout the year showcasing contemporary artwork of international artists. Their sculpture exhibitions are particularly appealing!

5) Strange Loop Gallery: Strange Loop Gallery is a fresh and hip gallery with various art events, installations and performances happening throughout the year. The interior design of the gallery also adds to the fantastical aesthetic experience of visiting. 

6) ABC No Rio: ABC No Rio has been a cornerstone of the art and culture scene of NYC since its establishment in 1980. With the goal to encourage political and social engagement, this space serves a platform for artists from various disciplines joining together artists and activists. Be sure to attend a performance there for a night you won’t forget!

Follow our “Getting Funky on the Lower East Side” Art Tour to check out the best art spots on the Lower East Side. 

* Art enthusiasts pictured above: Jordan Fox & Joseph Trottor Junior at Strange Loop Gallery