The Only Commercial Gallery in Hudson Yards Is Looking to the Future
The Miami-based Avant Gallery will bring its Pop and street art-inspired programming to its first New York outpost.
If you’ve checked social media in the past few weeks, you likely didn’t miss the opening of Hudson Yards. Everywhere you look, The Vessel, Thomas Heatherwick’s latest architectural project, and the nearby multimedia-arts venue, The Shed, have taken over metro-area Instagram feeds.
But the Manhattan development promising to become the city’s new art and architecture destination is surprisingly home to just one commercial art gallery: the Avant Gallery, founded by Dmitry Prut in 2007 in Miami.
Hudson Yards is the fourth location for the eclectic gallery, joining its flagship Miami space at the Epic Hotel, a secondary Miami venue, and an outpost at the Four Seasons Jumeirah Resort in Dubai. For Prut, the move is strategic, as the once-small venture works towards drawing an international clientele.
The new commerce-meets-culture neighborhood on Manhattan’s West Side seems a promising next step for a gallery that has made a name with unique projects, from pop-ups to hotel-takeovers. “New York is the most important market for contemporary art in the world,” Prut said. “With the Shed right next to us, and our proximity to the High Line and Chelsea, I felt this was a great opportunity.”
In its inaugural show There Goes the Neighborhood: New Art for The New, New York, the gallery brings together a diverse mix of artists channeling street art and Pop aesthetics. One of the headliners of the exhibition is Los Angeles-based Skyler Grey, a 19-year-old artist who has been dubbed the “The Fresh Prince of Street Art.”
Grey first came to attention in 2011 when his first painting Queen Amy, which depicts the late singer Amy Winehouse as Queen Elizabeth II, went viral, garnering him a fan-base that includes the likes of Paris Hilton and Snoop Dogg, eventually landing him in Forbes Magazine‘s “30 Under 30” in 2017. Grey, who attended the private opening of the New York space on March 14, is currently collaborating with the historic Italian car company Lamborghini on the Aventador SVJ Roadster series, the auto-manufacturer’s first artistic collaboration.
In its new space, Avant hopes to attract both seasoned and first-time collectors. “I’ve always considered the gallery brand to be accessible, yet appealing to those with a more discerning taste,” Prut said. “Ultimately it makes the gallery and our artists happy when works end up in good collections.”
This inaugural exhibition presents a wide-range of artists, including Nigerian-born Jacqueline Suowari, whose work combines detailed portraiture with boldly colored backgrounds, and Colombian painter Felipe Echeverry, known as LaSsO, who creates canvases that merge the aesthetics of modernism with tropical flora and fauna symbolic of the diaspora.
The approach is already seeing tremendous response—the gallery has had to implement crowd-control measures during weekends. What’s ahead? Prut says a mix of traditional exhibitions fused with unconventional events. “Avant’s modus operandi has been to tiptoe outside of the box,” he said.
Avant Gallery is located at 30 Hudson Yards, level one. The inaugural show “There Goes The Neighborhood: New Art for The New, New York” is on view through May 5, 2019.