MOMA? Check. The MET? Been there. The Whitney? Seen it! Looking for art spots beyond the well trodden tourist path? Art insider Jasmin Hernandez from Gallery Gurls has got you covered. From Salon 94 to the Knockdown Centre, this cultural citizen shares with us some of her favourite spots which keep up with New York's vibrant, ever-changing art scene.
Meet Jasmin Hernandez, founder and EIC of Gallery Gurls, a celebratory digital space for women in the contemporary art world. It’s the creative site for #NastyWomen.
Born and raised in New York City by way of Washington Heights, Queens and now Harlem – Jasmin was always a culturally curious individual who dreamed of fashion and art from an early age. As a broke college student she juiced the Big Apple for all the cultural perks she could get. After soaking up the galleries around the Lower East Side and in institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sotheby’s and Parsons School of Design, she channelled her knowledge and interest into Gallery Gurls.
The site features interviews, reviews, studio visits and more with leading women artists, gallerists, curators and art world influencers. There’s a keen focus on queer artists and artists of colour joining an important conversation in the art-world too. “I want to position Gallery Gurls to be the go-to online destination when you think of women and art,” says Jasmin. “I want to be a champion for female artists, especially female artists of color. I’m very comfortable in that role.” She furthers spreads that “femme-centric art conversation” through outlets such as Konbini, Vice/The Creators Project, CULTURED and Refinery29.
So what makes New York’s art scene stand out for Jasmin? “It never stands still, it’s constantly moving, shifting and evolving. There is always an abundance of art to see (good and bad). I don’t care much for sales and numbers but the most prestigious galleries and auction houses are here (and in London) so it’s a major art capital that moves billion of dollars worth of art. But what I love most about the art scene here in New York is the community I’ve built through Instagram, everyone I know is either writing, painting, shooting, curating, producing, selling and creating. It’s incredibly dope and incredibly inspiring.”
And as far as art districts go to visit in New York City: “I love Chelsea and the Lower East Side. Because I love keeping things easy, I’ll stick to one area and do a “Chelsea day”, and gallery-hop to as many as 25 spaces in one day, followed by any must-see evening openings. Same for the Lower East Side.”
Here Jasmin highlights five galleries you might not have heard of in New York City that you have to visit:
Steven Kasher in Chelsea: this is a stand out gallery because of their focus on contemporary photography, and it really speaks to my photo editor background. Recently there have been stellar shows by the feminist photographer Marianna Rothen, Ming Smith who has been documenting black urban life since the ‘70s, and currently there is a show with Martha Cooper, the seminal graffiti and street art photographer.
Turn Gallery: is this incredible slice or art goodness in the East Village. Its owner Annika Peterson, is this super chic woman with excellent taste who curates really intriguing and beautiful shows. I love that’s it’s owned by a woman and she shows mostly female artists. The show that is set to open soon is with Kimia Kline, one of my favorite New York painters, who depicts women in these really lush and serene environments.
The Knockdown Center in Maspeth Queens: it is this massive cultural/performance space with really dynamic art programming. They stand behind feminist and woman-identified artists which is really significant. Shows like MAMI and Nasty Women have been mind-blowing, and it’s also an insane music venue where artists like Princess Nokia have performed.
Salon 94 is the most divine gallery ever. They have three locations and have shown artists like Laurie Simmons, Marilyn Minter, Lorna Simpson, Gordon Parks, and Carlos Rolon/Dzine. They tend to show a lot of photography which resonates with me and the gallery gives off this sense of high fashion which I love.They were innovative in coming down to the Bowery from the Upper East and had a huge hand in shaping the Lower East art scene. Their main space on the Bowery is like a grand sunken living room filled with intoxicating art.
Hauser & Wirth is a blue-chip gallery with international locations, and two in New York. Everything they do is on a massive scale. They took over this iconic nightclub called The Roxy and made it into this cavernous and posh space. I’ve seen incredible shows by Mark Bradford, Rashid Johnson, and Jack Whitten and Rita Ackermann. That location has since closed and now they moved to 22nd Street at this great bi-level space with a bookshop and a cafe. They have another elegant space on the Upper East Side too. (IPictured: current of Roni Horn exhibition)