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A fun Harlem gallery tour to try while three of uptown's biggest museums renovate

Updated: Jul 21, 2020

Gavin Brown's enterprise

You could say it's becoming a bit of a challenge to be a museum lover uptown.

On Monday, The Studio Museum of Harlem joined El Museo del Barrio and The Hispanic Society of America in closing the doors to its galleries while it undergoes big changes. That leaves The Cloisters and The Museum of the City of New York as the last two major museums above 96th Street to remain fully open.

But good things will come to those who wait. The Studio Museum will see the biggest transformation when its old space is replaced with a shiny new building designed by David Adjaye. El Museo's refurbished galleries will re-open later this year in its existing Fifth Avenue building. And The Hispanic Society's extensive renovations will end in the fall of 2019, shining a new light on its collection of art by Goya, Velazquez and El Greco.

All three will continue to offer off-site exhibits, like The Studio Museum's "Derrick Adams: Patrick Kelly, The Journey" show currently up at the Countee Cullen Library.

LaToya Ruby Frazier at Gavin Brown's enterprise

Another very good reason not to panic? Harlem has sprouted a number of notable new galleries in the past few years, which means there's lots to see while the biggies are in their chrysalis phase. So many are close to 125th Street, you can even make an afternoon of it (the walk is less than an hour with no stops).

Here's a handy guide–with help from Google Maps–of what to see right now:

Harlem gallery self-guided walking tour

A. The Wallach Art Gallery

Lenfest Center for the Arts, Columbia University, 615 West 129th Street

B. Gavin Brown's enterprise

439 W 127th Street

LaToya Ruby Frazier (Jan 14-Feb 25)

C. Long Gallery Harlem

2073 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard

D. Elizabeth Dee Gallery

2033 Fifth Avenue

Julia Wachtel: Displacement (closing January 20)

Lisa Beck: Rising and Falling (closing January 27)

E. David Richard Gallery

211 E 121st Street

For daily updates, follow The Curious Uptowner on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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