Installation view of Inventing Downtown at NYUAD Art Gallery (1).jpg

NYC-Themed Art Exhibition Coming to a Close

Last chance to see "Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952-1965"

Press Release

The acclaimed current exhibition at the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery (NYUAD Art Gallery), Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965, will draw to a close on 13 January. Saturday is the last chance to see this significant collection of historical artworks, organized by the Grey Art Gallery, New York University’s fine art museum in New York City.

This major museum survey has continued NYUAD Art Gallery’s exploration of artistic community, now through the lens of New York of the 1950s and 60s, when the artists of "Downtown" Manhattan paved the way for New York City’s rise as a cultural capital.

With over 200 works from more than 50 artists, from Claes Oldenburg to Yoko Ono, Inventing Downtown showcases many now-famous artists in their early years. Curated by Melissa Rachleff, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Art and Art Professions at NYU’s Steinhardt School,  the project examines the New York art scene between the peak of Abstract Expressionism in the early 1950s and the rise of Pop Art and Minimalism in the early 1960s.

During this time, artists supported each other’s work, congregating in what came to be known as “downtown” Manhattan. Establishing co-operative and artist-run galleries that triggered new aesthetic directions, these artists gave rise to a new art economy, enabling the innovation and creative breakthroughs that would come to define key art historical movements in New York of the time.

This is a rare opportunity to see some of the earliest breakthrough works of these artists, including the painting, Ada Ada (1959), by celebrated figurative artist Alex Katz, a major early “infinity net” painting by Yayoi Kusama, and an assemblage by Dan Flavin from the year when he developed his trademark light-bulb installations. Photographers John Cohen and Danny Lyon’s images show scenes from a New York City now lost in time, alongside documents and photographs from the art receptions, happenings, and correspondence around these artist-run spaces.

NYUAD Art Gallery has announced their next show, Permanent Temporariness, a mid-career retrospective of the renowned, award-winning artist duo Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti. The duo are co-directors of DAAR, an architectural studio and artistic residency program that combines conceptual speculations and architectural interventions, and founders of Campus in Camps, an experimental educational program in Palestinian refugee Camps.  Their practice moves between art, architecture and pedagogy., often operating outside the typical art exhibition venue format. This is the first survey of their work in a museum/gallery context. It is guest-curated by Salwa Mikdadi with NYUAD Curator Bana Kattan.

Petti and Hilal’s body of work explores how our experience is shaped by our understanding of “permanence” or “impermanence” in our environment. Their installations bridge architecture and art, examine the social, economic and political consequence of exile and displacement, and delve into public and private impermanent spaces. Opening on February 24th, visitors to Permanent Temporariness can look forward to large-scale installations and other works of different mediums displayed both inside the Art Gallery and outdoors around the NYU Abu Dhabi campus. This exhibition closes on June 9, 2018.


About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and science campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly-selective liberal arts, engineering and science curriculum with a world center for advanced research and scholarship enabling its students to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from 115 nations and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.