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Harlem's art scene is heating up

Updated: Mar 17, 2020

Alex Katz at Gavin Brown's Enterprise in Harlem

The 8th annual Frieze New York art fair descends on Randall's Island this week–making it the perfect time to check in with the art scene expanding just across the Harlem River.

It turns out that since last May a number of notable new galleries have popped up in the neighborhood, joining recent arrivals like Gavin Brown's Enterprise at 439 W 127th Street, Columbia's Wallach Art Gallery at 615 W 129th Street, and Faction Art Projects at 2602 Frederick Douglass Boulevard.

Last fall the Studio Museum in Harlem opened the gallery-like Studio Museum 127 at 429 W 127th Street–a temporary satellite space while it builds its new David Adjaye-designed home. Since its debut, the Manhattanville location has been the site of frequent special events, like this weekend's zine-making workshop inspired by the community gathering spots of the Dominican Republic.

Then in February of this year the Ki Smith Gallery opened its doors at 712 W 125th Street, right by the Hudson River. Its mission is to champion the work of young artists–next up is a solo exhibition featuring the art of Caslon Bevington.

The latest arrival is WhiteBox, an art space that moved from Chelsea to a former firehouse at 213 E 121st Street in March. Its inaugural group show, "Waiting for the Garden of Eden," touched on themes like gentrification and identity. Stop by this Friday, May 3 for a special event connected to Frieze.

And yet another art space is on the horizon: the Claire Oliver Gallery, representing contemporary artists such as Bisa Butler, Barbara Earl Thomas and Leonardo Benzant, has left Chelsea and will be opening up soon at 2288 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard.

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