Manifesto: 50 Years On
10001 New York
In 1969, a group of eighteen adventurous young male and female New York artists, looking around the contemporary art world and thinking back to the 10th Street days of the 1950s, founded a new coop gallery, located on the Bowery which gave the space its name; in 1972 the gallery moved to Greene Street, in 1980 to Wooster Street, and in 2000 to its present space on 25th Street in Chelsea. Beginning December 26, with the exhibition “Manifesto: 50 Years On,” the Bowery Gallery celebrates its fiftieth year of showing tradition-conscious painting and sculpture, with an exhibition representing current members of the gallery as well as “associate” members who have shown in the gallery in the past
In its half a century as a New York art institution, the Bowery Gallery, a totally artist-run collective, has shown and represented artists from New York and elsewhere—young artists having their first shows as well as mid-career artists whose work can be followed through years of membership in the gallery stable. From its beginnings, the gallery has been a force against the irony and cynicism of the art world, and has championed artists committed to the radical act of mining the craft and traditions of painting and sculpture.
For “Manifesto,” the current stable of some 30-odd Bowery artists join with others who have previously shown with the gallery, in an exhibition that includes various media, with no work larger than two feet wide. In the illustrated catalogue that accompanies the show, the gallery artists mark the continuation of the mission of the Bowery:
“We assert on this anniversary the continuing life and importance of the craft and culture of painting and sculpture. We assert an art that does not depend on subject matter or other categories to guarantee meaning or worth. We assert an art that is a full expression of the language of painting and sculpture.”
The exhibition continues at Bowery through January 26. A panel discussion, “Art Making and Community: A Conversation Among Bowery Artists,” open free to the public, will be held on Saturday, January 26 at 4 pm in the gallery.