This is an art gallery tour like no other. A walk through the land of the Lower East Side where old tenements mix with sleek new architectural innovation, and art history is thick. We'll explore how the chaos of the Lower East Side has shaped—and continues to shape—the destiny of the art world.
There are dozens of galleries along this route, and we'll visit some of the most unique. But internationally acclaimed art is both inside and outside on this tour. We'll see scarce graffiti by local legend Lee Quinones, and the current street art movement he helped spawn. Art stars like Banksy, Shepard Fairy, and Invader will all be seen in the midst of a dizzying array of murals, paste-ups, and stencils. We tap into the hip hop origins of street art and explore earlier art in and about the streets. Early photo innovation by the likes of Jacob Riis, and the roots of American modernism were born in these streets. Decades later Claus Oldenburg set up his infamous "store" on one street corner. The next corner was the setting for the Beastie Boys' breakout album (audio clips come in handy here). This history--and a smattering of the latest and greatest contemporary art--awaits.
When viewed as a broad cultural phenomenon the Lower East Side is astounding. The guide provides an artist's viewpoint with cultural context, and gallery owners speak on the subtleties of the art market. The tour ends at the edge of the East Village between two of NYC's most famous street art sites. Even if you’ve just recently absorbed the culture of the Lower East Side, come again. It’s constantly evolving.
About the artist
Rich Garr was born on the west side of Cleveland during the Reagan administration. He attended, and later taught, art classes at the Cleveland Museum. Academics led him to a dual degree in art history and fine art, and an eventual MA in History. His graduate thesis, The Blue Collar White Cube: New Art in Old Buildings, explored the ways that artists, architects, and organizations use their historic surroundings. After working in the education department in the Brooklyn Museum he earned his NYC tour guide license and worked all over the city. Rich now lives in Brooklyn, New York with a wife and baby. He currently refurbishes old tours (like this one) that he developed during his days as a freelancer. He continues to explore the gray areas of history by biking and hiking; through film, music and books; and through his own collage art. Visit www.richgarr.com to see his artwork and catch his latest musings.