Midtown West Art Culture

June 2019

The eclectic Midtown West arts scene is vibrant year-round, but summer may just be the best time to get out and get into some of the best galleries in the city. Just blocks from 555TEN’s luxury rentals you’ll find multiple showcases for new, emerging, and established artists. Discover a modern masterpiece, explore new perspectives, or learn how to improve upon your own capabilities as a curator with an outing to some of the excellent galleries and art spaces near the Midtown West apartments at 555TEN.

Fountain House Gallery
New York is a city of artistic opportunity, and nowhere is that better represented than Fountain House Gallery. Fountain House Gallery and Studio is a place where artists living with mental illness can explore their own artistic pursuits and showcase their works for all to see. The gallery in Hell’s Kitchen sells these pieces, and works hand-in-hand with a number of other curators and institutions to create further possibilities for their artists. They aim not only to give a voice to those challenged by mental illness, but to confront the stigma of it head on. Each year, six in-house exhibitions come through the Ninth Avenue gallery, with some of the work also being showcased at their annual benefit event, Mad About Art. Impressively, works from Fountain House are represented in more than 400 public and private collections. Fountain House Gallery stands ready to help foster an artist’s creative vision, be they trained or self-taught, established or new, and make known the vital contributions of those suffering from mental illness.

Last Rites Gallery
The name of this space suggests the macabre, and the work inside Last Rites Gallery delivers that and more. Known for contemporary surrealism, Last Rites has established itself over the past decade as a venue for the display of work by “artists who are not afraid of exploring and dissecting every aspect of the human condition” and those investigating “the invisible, the unintelligible, and the inexplicable, with a focus on the most recondite twists and turns of reality.” While death and its many faces make an appearance in the works here, it’s most often in the guise of questioning what truly constitutes the end of existence — if there’s an end at all — and what that end looks like, both materially and metaphysically. The gallery describes their perspective as an “unconventional interpretation of the human existence that seems to escape any definition of what is real, unreal, or unknown.” We call it thought-provoking and worthy of multiple visits. The exhibition schedule is on a monthly rotation. Each new opening also boasts a reception where connoisseurs and artists can come together and engage one another directly.

The New York Museum of Contemporary Art
Dedicated to “living, working artists and the cultural preservation of the artist person,” The New York Museum of Contemporary Art is both an exhibition space and a marketplace for art. Wander through cutting-edge exhibitions that span techniques and styles from across the contemporary art spectrum. While we enjoy browsing the curated collections that line the walls, we’re absolutely enamored with the museum’s new app. It’s free to use and allows you to upload original artwork for the enjoyment of all. Whether you created it yourself, found it, or collected it, add the image to this online “gallery” along with the details of its media, creator, and location, and help to curate an ever-expanding array of work from around the world. You can also track your preferences, review your own art history, and manage collections for your viewing pleasure — all from the convenience of your smart device. It’s like having your own private gallery right in the palm of your hand.

Sean Kelly Gallery
Founded in Soho in 1991, Sean Kelly Gallery is curated by none other than British-born Sean Kelly, and represents both the established artist and those in “mid-career.” The gallery is housed in a Toshiko Mori-designed, two-story, 22,000-square-foot space at 36th Street and Tenth Avenue. As you’ll readily see, the work found here is focused on installation and performance. Artists from the founding period include the likes of Marina Abramović, Joseph Kosuth, James Casebere, and Robert Mapplethorpe, with most still represented there to this day. In addition, the gallery recently premiered a media campaign, known as Collect Wisely, aimed at resetting the dialogue for collecting and connoisseurship with an aim to refocus these pursuits on the appreciation of the art itself and not short-term monetary interests. The campaign also features a monthly podcast series, with each episode devoted to a collector interview and an exploration of that individual’s personal passions surrounding the art they collect.

Whether you’re a serious collector looking for the next Jackson Pollock or new to art with a strong appreciation for new perspectives and challenges to the artistic status quo, Midtown West has a wide selection of galleries sure to please your senses and fulfill your needs. Get out this summer and take in a new exhibition at any number of spaces around the neighborhood.