The Essex Street Gallery Moves to 55 Hester, Joins ‘Art Strike’ Against Trump’s Inauguration

Posted on: January 20th, 2017 at 5:00 am by


The Essex Street Gallery is returning home. For the last five years, the showroom held court on Eldridge Street, having been forced from its namesake. And it’s happening just in time for a coordinated “gallery strike” against Trump’s inauguration.

Moving to 55 Hester Street, formerly home to the Tracy Williams gallery, provided a massive opportunity for expansion. Indeed, the space is a three-fold increase in floor area from Essex’s previous two iterations.

A show called “Change of State” opened the Essex Street Gallery last night, and is a protest exhibition. “I planned on doing an anti-inauguration exhibition regardless of which of the two candidates were elected,” founder Maxwell Graham told Art News.

To that end, Graham is referring to the J20 Art Strike

The call reads:

#J20 Art Strike
An Act of Noncompliance on Inauguration Day. No Work, No School, No Business.
Museums. Galleries. Theaters. Concert Halls. Studios. Nonprofits. Art Schools. Close For The Day. Hit The Streets. Bring Your Friends. Fight Back.

This call concerns more than the art field. It is made in solidarity with the nation-wide demand that on January 20 and beyond, business should not proceed as usual in any realm. We consider Art Strike to be one tactic among others to combat the normalization of Trumpism—a toxic mix of white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobia, militarism, and oligarchic rule. Like any tactic, it is not an end in itself, but rather an intervention that will ramify into the future. It is not a strike against art, theater, or any other cultural form. It is an invitation to motivate these activities anew, to reimagine these spaces as places where resistant forms of thinking, seeing, feeling, and acting can be produced.

We address ourselves to the people who make our cultural institutions run on a daily basis, including many of our own friends and colleagues. Those who work at the institutions are divided in multiple and unequal ways, and any action taken must prioritize the voices, needs and concerns of those with the most to lose. However you choose to respond to this call, Art Strike is an occasion for public accountability, an opportunity to affirm and enact the values that our cultural institutions claim to embody.

The disruptions of J20 are just the beginning. They will resonate with the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. and other cities on January 21, and will stand as beacons of ungovernability as the darkness of the Trump era descends upon us. Let us assemble for the protracted battles that have long been underway, and those on the horizon.

Recent Stories

‘NYPL Sings’ Another Kids Record

Here’s a rare instance of bookworms making earworms. NYPL SINGS is the latest album to come out of the New York Public Library (yes, you read that correctly). It’s an upbeat record geared towards kids, but enjoyable for everyone (we’re partial to track 10,”The Library Song”). Each song represents a different way for caregivers to introduce their […]

‘Matter of Instinct’ Barbershop Begins Trimming on Orchard Street

For the ground floor of 122 Orchard Street, the brief foray into a storefront office has concluded. Instead, the space has returned to its previous function as an upscale salon (remember Misin Shin?). Matter of Instinct debuted on the block, just north of Delancey Street, last week. The masculine man haunt boasts plenty of wood, […]

‘Yaf Sparkle’ Closes its Original Orchard Street Store

Yaf Sparkle just vacated its five-year-old store on Orchard Street. This had been the flagship for the jewelry store until last Feburary when it expanded below the Delancey Divide. You’ll recall that Yaf Sparkle opened at 249 Broome Street in what was formerly a Chinese laundromat (Sun Kwong). Retail is now consolidated; this is now […]

Drill Rig Spotted Outside Future 700-Foot Towers Behind Lands End II

Let the drilling begin. The enormous development behind Lands End II might be in a holding pattern, but things are hearing up. It is here that L+M Partners and the CIM Group hope to construct a 68-story residential building comprised of two towers. A token Davey Drill vehicle was spotted curbside on South Street last weekend. […]

Extra Butter Teams up with Adidas for Sneaker Pop-Up on Stanton Street

Thanks to Extra Butter and Round Two, Hell Square is now attracting sneakerheads and street-style seekers. Tapping that enthusiasm, the newish owners of 101 Stanton Street plugged the recent vacancy of Ma Non Troppo with an Adidas pop-up shop. The store is essentially a stunt to sell the new collaborative “Extra Butter x Adidas” sneaker. […]