It is time to talk about L.E.S.

We are based here, so isn’t it about time we pay some homage to our beloved neighborhood? Today the Angel Orensanz Foundation blog is going to talk about the history of the Lower East Side and (obviously) give you a little inside scoop of the arts in the area – you might know, we are a neighborhood full of art galleries.

In its early development the L.E.S. was know as Little Germany, due to the many German immigrants that populated the area, but they weren’t the only ones: the Irish came, so did the Poles, the Italians and many others. At the time the nighrborhood was characterized by tenements and pushcart, as well as the soul of Orchard Street. The street is now a trendy street full of restaurants and boutiques, but it was once the tone of the busiest commercial districts in the world. But, the neighborhood is best known for its ties with Jewish culture. In fact, the Angel Orensanz Foundation used to be a synagogue in its early years, the first NYC synagogue and the fourth oldest synagogue in the States, actually. Now, the Foundation is an art center, with a big gallery that hosts exhibitions by emerging and established artists.

In the start of the 21st century, things started to change, the Lower East Side went under a process of gentrification and it become one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Manhattan. It has also become a hub for the arts, housing numerous contemporary art galleries.

Today, we present some of those galleries that have exhibitions you shouldn’t miss. Make sure to keep up with the blog and soon enough you will know all the galleries of the Lower East Side. 

Toomer labzda, is a contemporary art gallery founded on 2011, dedicated to show emerging artists, such as Tamara Gayer, who presents The Inside, her take on the Eldridge Street Synagogue. The american artist created a site-specific kaleidoscopic installation to show this 125-years-old landmark in her own way. The window piece is a ode to the public sanctuary.

Another gallery in the L.E.S. with a well curated exhibition is the Pocket Utopia on Henry Street, with “Lyrical Color”, a group exhibition featuring the work of Rico Gatson, Sam Gilliam, Brece Honeycutt, Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson, Jane Kent, Meg Lipke, Maggie Michael, Dan Steinhilber, and David Storey.  In the center of the exhibition is Gilliam, who is known as one of America’s foremost color field painters, around him, there’s restraint, equanimity and balance. There is the blackness of both Rico Gatson’s and Dan Steinhilber’s sculptural abstractions, there’s Jane Kent’s overlapping musical scores, fanned Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson’s paintings upon silk threads, and finally Meg Lipke’s joining of herself and her India-inked and fabric dyed drawings.



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