Blue Mountain/Bowery/Prince Street
by Robert Sievert
BLUE MOUNTAIN Gallery, BOWERY Gallery, and PRINCE STREET Gallery have just closed their Soho space and are relocating in Chelsea. The three galleries will occupy a floor in a building in the middle of the newest art scene. Their history and what led up to these galleries is notable.
When I was going to Cooper Union (1958-63) there were a number of small renegade cooperative galleries around 10th Street. This was the late 50's and Abstract Expressionism was the style of the day. Then as I concluded my studies abstract art had a major failure as a style. Pop, Op, Minimalism and Concept began to rise. The small galleries downtown folded.
For a while there was nothing in the way of painting to be seen except for uptown. Then sometime in the late sixties some of my friends were talking about a new gallery on the Bowery, THE BOWERY GALLERY.. Another gallery was close by on 1st St., THE FIRST STREET GALLERY.
I remember a wonderful show of paintings by Dan Lobel. Small landscapes done at a lake. All the paintings were the same size and they had a beautiful even light. Dan was some one I knew from Cooper Union so his paintings had particular meaning to me and my circle of artist friends.
It turns out this was the beginning of a new wave of galleries. Lucien Day opened THE GREEN MOUNTAIN GALLERY on Perry Street in the village. These galleries showed painterly realism and developed into a strong movement that consolidated into a region of the then burgeoning Soho art scene. THE PRINCE STREET GALLERY became a strong player. I also remember exciting shows of work at the LANDMARK GALLERY
The Green Mountain Gallery combined a variety of artists, more importantly it combined realist and abstract painting. In it's early years it showed abstract expressionist painting along with realist painting. Many of the younger artists painting nature were students of abstract artists. These new downtown galleries seemed to me a direct descendant of the 10th street scene.
For many years you could count on seeing lively art done in a variety of styles which upheld a New York painterly tradition in these galleries.
Then Green Mountain gallery became Blue Mountain and joined Prince Street and Bowery in a shared space in Soho further west than they had been.. A dedicated group of artists have maintained this on going tradition, showing their work in a professional space and manner.
BLUE MOUNTAIN/BOWERY/PRINCE STREET will now occupy a floor In a building in Chelsea on West 25th Street To Inaugurate this new space they are having a gala auction and exhibit March 6 through 10. There will be work of the current members of these galleries along with artists previously associated with the scene.
I myself can't wait, the prospect of seeing a Louis Finklestein, Lois Dodd, Neil Welliver and all the current artists greatly excites me.
Preview Works: March 6-10: 11am - 6pm
Copyright © Robert Sievert 2001