Tue and Thu-Fri, 11am-6pm; Wed, 11am-8pm; Sat, 11am-5pm; Sun-Mon, closed
A, B, C, D, E, F, M at W. 4th St.-Washington Sq.; N, R at 8th St.-NYU; 6 at Astor Pl.
Although the curatorial staff oversees NYU's art collection, none of the university's holdings of 5,800-or-so works are on permanent display at this 3,400 sq. ft. gallery. Instead, the space’s walls play host to three or four rotating exhibitions a year, wide-ranging in form and content—Diane Arbus, John Singer Sargent, and portraits from the Arab world have all been subjects. The main space has loft-like ceilings, white columns, and white walls while a smaller basement room, which handles the overflow, is often used for video installations. Retrospectives devoted to artists who have been overlooked by larger museums attract considerable critical interest, especially since most shows are accompanied by scholarly publications, symposia, and lectures. The gallery’s present founding dates to 1975, when it was renamed and renovated after a gift from Abby Weed Grey. From the 1920s to the mid-1940s, the same corner space in NYU's main academic building housed the Gallery of Living Art. This was the salon-cum-study center that A.E. Gallatin organized to house his treasure trove of European modernist paintings, the first of its kind in the U.S. Unfortunately for NYU, most of the paintings (Braque's Three Musicians and Picasso's Self-Portrait with Palette among them) ended up at the Philadelphia Museum of Art after the war. NYU established its own collection in 1958 and has a strong representation of post-war American artists, especially those of the New York School: Frankenthaler, de Kooning, and other contemporaries influenced by Gallatin's salon.Extra
Many people pass by the Grey's most impressive possession (at least in size) without even knowing it, Picasso's Bust of Sylvette—the giant female-faced chunk of concrete in the forecourt of the Silver Towers on Bleecker Street.