5 Must-See Exhibitions at Our Favorite Downtown Galleries

Downtown NYC has long been known for housing artists and creating space for flourishing creativity. So it’s no wonder some of the city’s best galleries reside just outside our front door. Here are five striking exhibits currently on view, exploring themes ranging from the system of capitalism and the inaccuracies of history to what it truly means to be an American.

lehmann_maupin
Repossession at Lehmann Maupin (301 Chrystie Street)

When history is written, many sides of the story are left out. The group exhibit Repossession seeks to give those stories a voice. Creating collages using historical ephemera, artists Kader Attia, Mickalene Thomas, and Tim Rollins and K.O.S. have pieced together works that amend the inaccuracies and omissions of the existing narrative.

On view through August 12.

envoy_enterprises
My Dreamboat at Envoy Enterprises (87 Rivington Street)

A “dreamboat” is defined as an “exceptionally attractive person, generally a man,” and is a term that was popularized in the 1940s and ‘50s. This exhibition, comprised of photographs of men, boys, and male celebrities past and present, examines representations of the sexualized male form—these so called “dreamboats”—and explores the concept of the ideal male form. Women are often subjected to this gaze, but when the lens is turned to men, does it somehow seem different?

On view through August 5th.

Team Gallery

Golden Eggs at Team Gallery (83 Grand Street)

The complex system of capitalism seeks to endow objects, mere things, with value that is not necessarily inherent. At Team Gallery, a group show curated by Alissa Bennet examines these objects—referred to as “golden eggs” in Marx’s Das Kapital—and calls out these practices, highlighting their absurdity. Though not unique to the industry, this theory has particular significance in the contemporary art world, in which creativity is sold as a commodity. These artists are simultaneously caught up in the system, while rallying against it.

On view through August 5th.

foxy_productions

I Am Silver at Foxy Production (2 East Broadway)

Inspired by Silvia Plath’s poem, Mirror, this group show highlights work that examines representation. Plath writes, “I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.” And that is how these works, by artists including Justin Vivian Bond and Sojourner Truth Parsons, should be approached. Without any preconceptions.

On view through July 29th.

station_independent

WE:AMEricans at Station Independent (138 Eldridge Street)

This group photography show seeks to define what it means to be American, and in that quest shows us that being an American does not mean one thing—it cannot be captured in a single image. Curated by Natal San-Miguel, the show features photographs from renowned artists such as Amy Arbus amidst new work from a jury-selected group of rising talents. They capture every race, social class, and ideology, creating a multi-faceted portrait of our country, which feels particularly poignant at this moment.

On view through August 7th.

 Words by Alex Thurmond