Lazy Susan and Shrine Gallery the Newest Entrants to Henry Street Scene
Henry Street is the latest gallerist frontier on the Lower East Side. A slow trickle of showrooms has opened up the spot – especially the block between Jefferson and Clinton. (So have developers, by the way; look next door.) Two off-the-beaten-path galleries that recently foundered are being replaced with more of the same.
Striking out from the fertile pastures of the Con Artist Collective on Ludlow Street, Brian Shevlin is opening Lazy Susan at 191 Henry Street. Previously an annex for Rebecca Jampol Projects. The idea for this spot was forged six months ago with the help of four other likeminded artists – Michael Sharp, Dean Millien (foil artist), Jill Connor, and Steve Rivera (formerly of Novella) – some of whom are veterans of the Ludlow program. Inspiration, we’re told, was actually the City Bird gallery that briefly occupied the west store at this address. That space, meanwhile, is the future home of the Shrine Gallery.
Lazy Susan spins between the principals to cultivate creativity, seeking alternative ways to present art and pay the rent. Not the traditional retail route of buying art-off the wall. From what we gather, a pitch for proposals is released, artists are chosen, and the space is bequeathed for a set period of time. This rotating approach is in contrast to the typical artist roster. The opportunity cost of this non-traditional approach is a steady cash flow. Therefore, the crew may also bank on random pop-up exhibits (and marketing stunts) to bridge the gap.
When Lazy Susan soft opens later today, though, it’ll be as host to Endless Editions – basement tenant – who’s throwing their “closing sale” with a show in the ground-level gallery (zines and art publications for sale).
When pressed about the volatile gallery scene and artists fleeing the neighborhood (and NYC), Shevlin talks up the survival-of-the-fittest approach. He chalks it up to artists these days becoming “creative entrepreneurs” in order to stay afloat and keep the city from hemorrhaging it’s creative. “Our job is to figure out how to find our own way to keep (the city art scene) vibrant.”