Contemporary Art in NYC: Where to See It

If you’re looking for contemporary art in NYC, you’ve got a lot of choices. NYC is one of the art capitals of the world, and the goal of most artists is to have their art featured here, giving you a front-row seat to the best of the best.

When it comes to contemporary art in NYC, the canvas it’s painted on is massive, ever-changing, and unyielding. NYC has always drawn artists from around the world who are eager to showcase their work in one of the most critical and important art scenes. As a NYC resident, you’re in the unique and enviable position of having constant and immediate access to the latest and greatest work from today’s best artists. There seems to be an endless number of ways to experience the art scene, a fact that can seem overwhelming. If you’re new to the scene, check out the following for easy and accessible entre into the milieu.

The Contemporary African Art Gallery
330 West 108th Street, #6
New York, NY

From linocuts featuring black ink to colorful canvases imitating all the colors of a subtle, golden-tinged rainbow, NYC’s Contemporary African Art Gallery will challenge everything you think you know about African art. Far from being nothing more than the mass-produced African masks found at virtually, every festival throughout the city, contemporary African art and artists create glorious works of art. The shows featured here showcase the creative diversity that is born out of the 54 countries that make up the African continent. From El Anatsui, arguably one of the most popular African contemporary artists in the world, the Ghanaian artist whose found materials art has set the art world ablaze, to Nnenna Okore, a woman who studied under Anatsui before forging her own path, you’ll find something to broaden your global art horizons.

–25 Jackson Avenue
(At the intersection of 46th Avenue)
Long Island City, NY
(718) 784-2084

The MOMA PS1, the world famous art gallery nestled in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, is considered an extremely important part of the national contemporary art scene. If you’re an experimental, contemporary artist, your goal is probably to have your work showcased here. Rather than simply showcasing whatever work shows up on its doorstep, MOMA PS1 goes out of its way to reach out into the community and find the world’s next great, as-yet undiscovered talents. Long-term exhibitions include the works of artists like Abigail Lazkoz’s large-scale, epic Cameramen series or Richard Artschwager’s Rooms, one of the museum’s first site-specific art installations. People visit MOMA PS1 to fuel their creative inspiration or to be inspired by the work of others. You really want to feel like you’re in the midst of the contemporary art scene? Check out the museum’s Sunday Sessions series to experience the creation of art live and first-hand.

Gagosian Gallery
(Five locations in NYC)

You can’t mention contemporary art in NYC without mentioning the Gagosian Gallery. New York’s Gagosian Gallery is part of a world-wide network of 16 galleries created and run by Larry Gagosian. The network was—and is—dedicated to launching and profiling the work of the city’s most promising artists. The NYC galleries, opened in 1989 and stretching to what is now five, separate locations, launched with works from the likes of legendary artists like Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol. Today, you can enjoy ground-breaking work like paintings and sculpture from Berlin-based artist Katharina Grosse or terracotta sculptures of hand gestures and fists in motion from renowned Turin, Italy–based artist Giuseppe Penone.


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