Contemporary art in New York

Continuing the proud research-lite spirit of this column, a recent trip serves as a prompt to explore some useful online art resources relating to New York City. Challenged but still firmly at the centre of the global art market with more than 600 commercial galleries, and numerous fairs and auction houses, it is also home to an extraordinary range of public and private art museums and libraries, several art schools and many artists.


Art fairs exemplify this globalised environment, with international brands like Frieze, Scope, Volta, etc., joining those of local origins. The inaugural Frieze New York will be held 4–7 May 2012 on Randall’s Island, coinciding with New York Gallery Week (TBC). It is the latest addition to a busy fair calendar that started in March with the Armory Show (8-11 March 2012) and concurrent events (The Art Show, Independent,Volta NY, Fountain Art Fair, Scope, etc.)


Frieze New York

New York Gallery Week

Armory Show

The Art Show


Volta NY

Fountain Art Fair



M Art Maps and online listings are probably the best source of information on galleries and exhibitions, including an Openings Guide. The maps divide Manhattan in five areas (Village/Lower East Side, Soho/Tribeca, Chelsea, Midtown/57th Street, Uptown/Madison Ave.), with additional ones for Williamsburg (Brooklyn) and Long Island City (Queens), another two hotspots for galleries. Other areas of interest in Brooklyn (particularly Dumbo) are covered by Wagmag: Brooklyn art guide (online and print). Time Out New York is also useful for reviews and listings.




Time Out NY


Museums and biennials

The long list of modern and contemporary art museums includes world class institutions like MoMA (established in 1929) and its affiliated contemporary art space P.S.1; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (successor from 1939 of the earlier Museum of Non-Objective Painting), housed in the iconic building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; the New Museum; the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Museum (with its renowned Center for Feminist Art). Their websites are often very rich resources including catalogues, collections of digitised artworks, podcasts of talks and other events, etc. The Whitney and New Museum are currently hosting two major recurrent exhibitions: the Whitney Biennial 2012 and The Ungovernables, the second (and excellent) triennial of emerging artists –after Younger than Jesus in 2009. Another two are also based in the city, the influential Performa, a performance art biennial celebrating its fifth edition next year, and the quinquennial Greater New York, showcasing local artists and due in 2015.




Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

New Museum

Whitney Museum of American Art

Brooklyn Museum

Neue Galerie


Dia Art Foundation

The Jewish Museum

Studio Museum Harlem

Whitney Biennial

The New Museum Triennial


Greater New York


Some artist-run spaces

New York may not be the most radical or innovative art centre these days, but it is still home to large artistic communities. The many artists that live and work here encompass the world famous and the unknown student (for instance, at the Pratt Institute, Parsons School of Design, NYU Tisch School, National Academy of Design or the School of Visual Arts, to name a few of the more distinguished local art schools). There is a long tradition of artist-run spaces and events, with some of them going back as early as 1970 (the always excellent White Columns). ABC No Rio, AIR, Apexart, Art in General, Artists’ Space, Drawing Centre, Exit Art or Sculpture Center are among the best examples of these.


Pratt Institute

Parsons The New School of Design

Tisch School of the Arts

National Academy of Design

School of Visual Arts

White Columns

ABC No Rio



Art in General

Artists’ Space

Drawing Centre

Exit Art

Sculpture Center


Art libraries and bookshops

The city is justly proud of its many great libraries, and art libraries are not an exception. MoMA Library, the Frick Reference Library, the Brooklyn Museum Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries, and the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library are all leading institutions within their areas of specialism, and the New York Art Resources Consortium (NYARC), which currently includes the first three, provides a framework for collaboration to deliver resources to researchers. Arcade, their joint catalogue, providing access to more 900,000 records (also available via – Virtual Catalogue for Art History) and a series of digitisation projects (some in partnership with JSTOR and ARTstor) are some of the results of this work.


MoMA Library

Frick Art Reference Library

Brooklyn Museum Libraries and Archives

Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries

Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library




Bookshops (or ‘bookstores’) of interest include artists’ books champion Printed Matter, specialists like Anartist or Specific Object, artist-run Dexter Sinister or institutional ones (e.g. Center for Book Arts Bookstore). The New York Art Book Fair (NYABF), organised by Printed Matter, and its related conference (organised by ARLIS/NA) is one of the most important events of its kind anywhere in the world. EAB is also part of the art fair calendar.


Printed Matter


Specific Object

Dexter Sinister

Center for Book Arts Bookstore


EAB Fair



[Grandal Montero, G. (2012) Resources online: Contemporary art in New York. ARLIS News-sheet, no. 217, May-June, pp. 3-4.]



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