Some people fritter away their youth in vain pursuits. Others open galleries. In the past year alone, three new exhibition spaces have cropped up on New York’s Lower East Side; a fourth is planned for October. All but one are run by twentysomething art dealers; their approaches vary wildly, but their energy and ambition is putting this long-time gritty neighborhood, now a fashionista paradise, back on the art world’s map.

Melissa Bent, 24, and Mirabelle Marden, 23 (daughter of the painters Brice and Helen Marden), signed the lease for Rivington Arms, their storefront at 102 Rivington Street, on September 10 last year. Undeterred by world-shattering events, they launched in January with a group show devoted to largely unknown artists. “We were trying to keep it a young crowd,” Bent explained. “People who hadn’t been in a million exhibitions before, or published a million books, and who were excited to work with us.”

This fall, Jonah Koppel’s plasticine portrait sculptures will be among the gallery’s first solo exhibitions. In December, Daisy de Villeneuve, a British artist, is curating a show of art by young women from London, including photographs by her sister, Poppy. The pocket-sized space is a classic white cube; beyond the mood of countercultural camaraderie, there’s also a business strategy. “We’re not charging an arm and a leg for these works,” said Bent, who met Marden while both were studying art history at Sarah Lawrence. “We want them to sell. A lot of the paintings and photographs are priced at under a thousand dollars. And with every show, we think, what did we learn from this. And what should we change.”

Down the block, amid the bodegas, boutiques and watering holes, 34-year-old Lia Gangitano is set to open Participant Inc., a gallery and performance center, in October. Just south of this epicenter of boho chic, Michele Maccarone runs Maccarone Inc. on the top two floors above the Kunst Sales Company, an electronic shop, at 45 Canal Street. Maccarone, 28, started things off last November with a knockout installation by Swiss artist Christoph Büchel—a kafkaesque architectural construction in which viewers climbed ladders and crawled through small holes, getting torn and dusty.

Maccarone began as an intern at Chelsea’s Luhring Augustine and spent four years there as director. But her gallery, which gets rebuilt for each show, is in many ways the un-Chelsea. “It’s meant to be really unprecious,” she said, as we sat at a table piled with water bottles and papers. “I didn’t want you to walk in and see this high desk, with some really gorgeous gallerina behind it. I wanted it to be more organic, like an art house. It’s for-profit, but it’s also a place where art can just exist, with people.”

As if on cue, artist Mike Bouchet stops by, to toss around some ideas for his December installation. Those whom Maccarone represents, both more-established Europeans and emerging Americans, all work in multiple media; all are under 40. “I have this random rule,” she explained, “that you need to be making work for seven years, before you’re ready to show. I’m opposed to artists getting shown directly out of school, and their career gets blown up, and then they can’t handle it. Artists should be able to maintain the lean years, and really concentrate on their work.”

Though he’s only 25, Leo Koenig has been in business since 1999, when he opened in a small garage in Williamsburg. Remarkable salesmanship helped finance his move to Tribeca the next year, and, last December, to the gallery’s current location, a sleek 2000-foot space at 249 Centre Street. Koenig tends to show big, beautiful paintings by up-and-coming stars, such as Eric Parker and Lisa Ruyter, both on this fall’s schedule. His instincts were formed in his mother’s art bookshop in Munich and under the influence of his father, museum director Kasper Koenig. His uncle, art-book publisher and dealer Walter Koenig, inspired his passion for books; all of his shows are accompanied by catalogs, and major publishing projects are planned for fall.

“Every second question I get from someone my age is, ‘Why don’t you have a Web site?’ ” Koenig said by cell phone from St. Bart’s. “When I tell them I’m more into doing these catalogs, they say, ‘Oh, nobody buys books anymore.’ Well, in my own way, I’m working against that.” His blue-chip background carries obvious advantages, but it can also be a psychic liability. “What I tell people is, stick within your own means and you’ll get there,” he said. “It’s always best to do it yourself.”


Through October 5

Andrea Rosen, 525 West 24th Street, 627-6000

The queen of surveillance art returns with “Securityland,” an installation of lights, sounds, security blankets, surveillance equipment, and just maybe a real helicopter.


September 5-October 5

Anton Kern, 532 West 20th Street, 965-1706

This Korean American conjures a pack of 50 coyotes and an Eskimo “God” reclining on a block of ice in his newest installation.


September 5-October 19

Artists Space, 38 Greene Street, 226-3970

Sixteen artists from far-flung places, including Uganda native Zarina Bhimji and Korea-born Do-Ho Suh, populate this show with works about modernity, difference, and “the relativising impulse of globalization.”


September 5-October 5

Artemis Greenberg Van Doren, 730 Fifth Avenue, 445-0444

“Episodes,” a show of new videos and photos by a conceptualist who delves into the construction of identities, relationships, and group dynamics.


September 6-October 19

Mary Boone, 745 Fifth Avenue, 752-2929

At the age of 30, a former wunderkind—who was too smart and too skilled for his own good—makes a comeback with “Pied-à-Terre,” an installation of 34 luxury trunks that unpack into a complete portable apartment, doggy bowl and all.


September 6-October 5

Brent Sikkema, 530 West 22nd Street, 929-2262

New work by a painter who stretches the notion of the abstract to the point where it becomes a wall drawing made of nylon strapping or a room-size inflatable landscape pillow.


September 6-October 7

Pierogi, 177 North 9th Street, Brooklyn, 718-599-2144

“The Pollock Project.”


September 7-October 12

Postmasters, 459 West 19th Street, 727-3323

There hasn’t been a solo show of her circuitous, griddy, and sometimes giddy ballpoint drawings and labyrinthine paintings that sometimes spill into real space in New York in three years.


September 10-October 12

Leo Koenig, 249 Centre Street, 334-9255

An up-and-comer in his late twenties shows horizon-skimming new landscape paintings in his hard-edged digitized style, and tries his hand at mountainscapes.


September 13-November 16

Pratt Manhattan Gallery, 144 West 14th Street, 647-7778

Pratt Institute opens a new exhibition space with a show, curated by Kalus Ottman, of 10 artists who push existen-tial questions to extremes. Patty Chang, Lucy Gunning, William Kentridge, Bill Viola, Chantal Ackerman, and Tania Bruguera—who will do a performance at the opening—are among them.


September 13-October 12

Team, 527 West 26th Street, 279-9219

In a single looped video projection, a young boy with a soccer ball makes a church shudder and shake. But Marshall’s mesmerizing work is never as simple as it seems. This piece involved nearly a year’s worth of post-production tinkering.


September 13-October 12

Sara Meltzer, 516 West 20th Street, 727-9330

Six sandblasted Plexiglas towers, including the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Chrysler Building, and the Seattle Space Needle, emerge from a sea of marbles to form a percussive drum corps. The Trylon and Perisphere lead the way.


September 14-October 26

303 Gallery, 525 West 22nd Street, 255-1121

Two four-channel video projections on shaped screens by an artist whose spacey vision can transcend the banal vacancy of post-industrial space.


September 14-October 19

Ronald Feldman, 31 Mercer Street, 226-3232

With modular offices, filing cabinets, storage areas, video images, and Osorio’s usual attention to the theatrical embellishment and domestic detail, this social services office installation is about life, bureaucracy, and one family “in the system, so to speak.” A big bleeding-heart piñata looms over the side gallery.


September 14-October 26

The Swiss Institute, 495 Broadway, 925-2035

Shaw, known for painting and sculpting the stuff from his dreams, now dreams up a fictional early modernist painter who devoutly follows a puritanical pseudo-religion of abstract purity while obsessively hoarding kitsch images.


September 21-October 19

Lehmann Maupin, 540 West 26th Street, 255-2923

This Brit bad girl is back with a slutty new bed installation, a quilt, embroideries, drawings, and neon wallworks in a show called “I Think It’s in My Head.”


September 21-November 23

Peter Blum, 99 Wooster Street, 343-0441

Abstract quilts by an African American who grew up with 14 siblings in rural Arkansas, and who uses a pseudonym because she values her anonymity.


October 6-November 3

The Project, 427 West 126th Street, 662-8610

This young Cuban deals with memory, nostalgia, and absence in pristine, understated floor installations.


October 6-November 28

Maccarone, 45 Canal Street, 431-4977

Two sisters from Switzerland do an installation of drawings and video in this far-out, young upstairs gallery on the Lower East Side, which plans to take over the entire funky building in December.


October 11-January 26

Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue, 570-3633

An artist whose work gives narrative form to “the collective social invisibility of the black female” has a dual show that includes the 31-monitor film installation she did for Documenta 11 and her latest photographs.


October 12-November 9

Andrew Kreps, 516A West 20th Street, 741-8849

A 28-year-old Canadian embeds references to rappers in small, dense, impastoed paintings.


October 12-November 30

Deitch Projects, 18 Wooster Street, 343-7300

Just a few years past 30, this Californian has taken the art of glass beading into the conceptual realm of hyper-kitsch. Her beaded installations of tacky domestic stuff, including a whole kitchen a couple of years ago, exude glitzy magic. The pièce de résistance in this show is a glittering trailer home.


October 17-January 6

MOMA QNS, 33rd Street and Queens Boulevard, Queens, 708-9431

With some 250 ambitious works on the walls as well as on paper by 26 young international artists from Asia, Europe, and the Americas, this museum exhibition offers an assessment of the healthy condition of drawing across the world.


October 17-November 16

Gorney-Bravin+Lee, 534 West 26th Street, 352-8372

His humongous curving murals fuse painting, sculpture, and digitized photo imagery. This show of new work includes a kinetic painting machine, which shoots gobs of pigment across the gallery, hopefully overhead.


October 18-January 3

Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris, 120 Park Avenue, at 42nd Street, 663-2453

The latest techno-futuristic project by this imaginative young Turkish-born artist shows up at the cigarette Whitney.


October 18-November 18

Roebling Hall, 390 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-599-5352


October 18-November 16

Lombard-Fried, 531 West 26th Street, 967-8040

This internationally respected young Cameroonian, whose nomadic installations have a spontaneity that sometimes belies their deeper intent, focuses on Brazil’s poor, homeless communities in an installation titled “Brazilisme.”


October 19-November 27

Alexander & Bonin, 132 Tenth Avenue, 367-7474

An exhibition of several new works.


October 19-November 30

Galerie Lelong, 528 West 26th Street, 315-0470

Having reconceptualized “Lament of the Images,” the stunning installation he did for Documenta 11, Jaar presents it along with an even newer work.


October 24-February 16

El Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Avenue, 831-7272

This fall’s installment of the annual show, selected from work submitted to the slide files, samples the latest and most innovative art by fresh new Latino and Latin American artists at work in New York.


November 2-December 21

Barbara Gladstone, 515 West 24th Street, 206-9300

Created from tape, foil, cardboard, paper, and other basic materials, Hirschhorn’s scrappy politicized environments have aroused admiration and outrage in major shows across Europe. For his first New York solo, he turns the gallery into a prehistoric cave.


November 2-December 21

Deitch Projects, 76 Grand Street, 343-7300

His sprawling multistory stairwell installation was one of the few highlights of last spring’s Whitney Biennial. Hopefully he’ll do something just as desultory and playful here, in a show of new work titled “Now Is Now.”


November 5-December 21

LFL, 530 West 24th Street, 631-7700

Zach the gallerist, who opened his first gallery at the age of 19, is now 23. And nearly all the artists he shows are under 30. Schutz, who’s 26, inaugurates the gallery’s move to a ground-floor space with a series that explores the slippage between painting and sculpture and impossibility—starring a fictional guy who keeps getting done in and coming back to life.


November 7-December 21

Artists Space, 38 Greene Street, 226-3970

Some 50 young and restless painters grapple with the digital, the hyper-figurative, and the wildly eclectic in a salon-style state-of-the-art show out to prove that painting may be mutating, but it’s alive and well.


November 9-January 30

ACE, 275 Hudson Street, 255-5599

This elusive, street-smart African American master fills ACE’s sublime galleries and hall with his most recent and farthest-out work in a show that has been six years in the making. It should be a treat.


November 13-December 21

Apex Art, 291 Church Street, 431-5270

Jérôme Sans, curator of Palais de Tokyo, Paris’s newest, grungiest, most experimental, and most artfully deconstructed big exhibition space, curates a show on a different scale here.


November 14-January 4

Leo Koenig, 249 Centre Street, 334-9255

A bright young painter who has been emerging for far too long shows more of her bright, highly stylized, and oddly affectless work, which vacillates between banality and brilliance.


November 16-December 21

D’Amelio Terras, 525 West 22nd Street, 352-9460

Brown, whose work involves posturing and pretension, already broke all the rules in her renegade retro-watercolors of surly girls living it up. This time around, she infiltrates the world of contemporary music, producing a music video and related paintings.


November 21-January 4

Tanya Bonakdar, 521 West 21st Street, 414-4144

Dion’s art had always been about natural history, and “Vivarium” is no exception. The large installation involves a big old decomposing tree and a visual record of all the organisms that are agents of its demise.


November 26-January 4

Robert Miller, 524 West 26th Street, 366-4774

No guarantees, but if we’re lucky this legendary and still daring pioneer will come up with a large new encrusted installation.


December 10-January 18

Friedrich Petzel, 535 West 22nd Street, 680-9467

In this show the 29-year-old Canadian artist moves the comic pathos and sly abstractness of his sad and lonely talking-blob imagery off the canvas and into showy sculptural space in a cool installation.


December 14-January 18

Metro Pictures, 519 West 24th Street, 206-7100

This enterprising African American conceptualist from L.A., who was born in 1973, does it all himself in his first New York solo show, growing tobacco plants and manufacturing the paper for a project in which he creates his own brand of cigarettes.




Reviews by Vince Aletti


September 5-October 2

Burden Gallery, 20 East 23rd Street, 505-5555

“Stepping Through the Ashes,” a show of black-and-white photos probing New York’s shaken psyche and shattered architecture in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center.


September 5-October 12

P.P.O.W, 476 Broome Street, 941-8642

The first of several shows by this excellent, thoroughly engaged photographer rounds up moving work, much of it portraiture, from two books about Somali refugees, Ramadan Moon and A Camel for the Son.


September 5-November 2

Scalo, 560 Broadway, 334-9393

Portrait work from The Victor Weeps, Sheikh’s 1998 book about Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Also here: images from the “Here Is New York” exhibit, which Scalo is publishing in book form this fall.


September 5-October 19

Pace/MacGill Gallery, 32 East 57th Street, 759-7999

Sheikh shows recent photos from Brazil; Appelt, a grid of portrait images made in homage to filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky.


September 5-October 12

Ricco/Maresca Gallery, 529 West 20th Street, 627-4819

Witkin’s first New York show in five years, and his first with this gallery, emphasizes the drawing-to-photo process by which he creates his fabulously freakish tableaux.


September 6-October 12

Gallery 292, 120 Wooster Street, 431-0292

A survey of color work made between the ’40s and the ’80s by a photographer whose rigorous experiments with form and content remain highly influential.


September 6-October 13

Janet Borden, Inc., 560 Broadway, 431-0166

Desert landscapes made in the American West by one of our most protean and prolific photographers.


September 6-October 12

Howard Greenberg Gallery, 120 Wooster Street, 334-0010

A show of work acquired this past spring from Ginsberg’s estate, including drugstore-processed snapshots from the ’40s and ’50s along with his trademark later prints, each captioned at length in his inimitable scrawl. Here’s the Beat generation from the ultimate insider’s perspective, with appearances by Kerouac, Corso, Burroughs, and the legendary Neal Cassady.


September 8-29

The Project, 427 West 126th Street, 662-8610

“Fashion,” a collaboration between two decidedly unconventional editorial photographers, who are likely to goad one another to new heights (or depths?) of creative outrage.


September 12-October 13

Gorney Bravin+Lee, 534 West 26th Street, 352-8372

Kurland, whose previous work has focused on ad hoc communities of young girls in the wilderness, turns her attention to members of communes with these staged color images of nude women gardening and a series of more candid black-and-white portraits.


September 12-October 26

Robert Mann Gallery, 210 Eleventh Avenue, 989-7600

As much a sculptor as a photographer, Millet shows small images of his own mysterious found-object constructions, many of them suggesting the fragility of psychic shelter, along with an installation created on the spot.


September 12-November 9

Bruce Silverstein, 504 West 22nd Street, 627-3930

Vintage work made between 1937 and 1971 by instructors and students (including Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Gyorgy Kepes, Aaron Siskind, and Harry Callahan) at the avant-garde Chicago Institute of Design.


September 12-December 1

International Center of Photography, 1133 Sixth Avenue, 857-0045

In the first important museum show of Garry Winogrand’s work since MOMA’s retro in 1988, ICP gathers vintage prints—some never before exhibited—made in the course of a yearlong trip across America. Also here: “Step Right This Way,” a show of Edward J. Kelty’s circus photos from the ’20s and ’30s.


September 13-November 2

Roth Horowitz, 160A East 70th Street, 717-9067

A broad selection of the hundreds of grainy, chaotic black-and-white shots the Japanese photographer made in the course of a visit to New York in 1971, accompanied by a mesmerizing slab of a book.


September 18-November 2

Edwynn Houk Gallery, 745 Fifth Avenue, 750-7070

The nearly 200 photos here represent the entire duplicate set of exhibition prints made for Lange’s MOMA retro in 1966—a wide range of both personal and photojournalistic work from throughout her career that includes several unusually large-scale images.


September 21-November 2

Matthew Marks Gallery, 523 West 24th Street, 243-0200

Taylor-Wood shows a series of small, jewel-like lightbox images of a young couple making love, along with new landscapes, and a pair of video projections.


September 26-January 5

Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, 535-7710

A major, career-spanning show of portraiture that the catalog describes as “an extended meditation on life, death, art, and identity in the form of a vast collective portrait of America in the second half of the 20th century.”


October 10-November 9

Rare, 435 West 14th Street, 645-5591

New large-scale photographs made in New Zealand confound expectations by removing the artist and his many clones from the landscape, leaving only fugitive signs of human presence. Plus videos and drawings.


October 10-December 7

Bonni Benrubi Gallery, 52 East 76th Street, 517-3766

Morell’s fascinating, intimate investigations of the book as object are accompanied by new camera obscura inventions.


October 17-November 16

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, 521 West 21st Street, 414-4144

Barth continues to explore the nature of vision with a series of new color landscapes keyed to the idea of blinking.


October 17-November 24

Janet Borden, Inc., 560 Broadway, 431-0166

This witty master of the color photo will show monochromatic still life images: a glass of milk against a white background, a watermelon on a field of red, etc.


October 19-November 30

Julie Saul Gallery, 535 West 22nd Street, 627-2410

O’Reilly’s small, sly, meticulously constructed Polaroid collages turn art history into highly personal and teasingly erotic terrain.


October 24-November 30

June Bateman Gallery, 560 Broadway, 925-7951

The great Voice staff photographer, one of the most influential personal photojournalists around, shows “Verso,” pictures taken from behind.


November 6-December 23

Matthew Marks Gallery, 523 West 24th Street, 243-0200

“Portraits in Life and Death,” a show of incisive portraiture and haunting catacomb studies from Hujar’s 1976 book of the same name.


November 7-January 11

Sarah Morthland Gallery, 511 West 25th Street, 242-7767

“Pathetica,” a show of Estabrook’s poignant faux-antique photos that go beyond his usual witty melancholia into deeper meditations on mortality.


November 9-December 21

Laurence Miller Gallery, 20 West 57th Street, 397-3930

One of New York’s most inventive and underknown photographers mounts a compact 25-year retrospective of urban images to coincide with the publication of Time Frames: City Pictures.


December 4-February 2

Throckmorton Fine Art, 145 East 57th Street, 223-1059

The gallery inaugurates its new 57th Street space with an exhibition of vintage and modern work made in Peru by Martin Chambi, Javier Silva Meinel, and Mario Algaze, the last of whom will show panoramic landscapes made earlier this year.