1 at Canal St.; A, C, E at Canal St.; 6, J, N, Q, R, Z to Canal St.
Founded in 1986, the Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art began as a small gallery housed in two living rooms of the Swiss Home on West 67th Street, where the Swiss Benevolent Society had been since 1904. Since September, 2011, the Institute's space has been in the former home of Deitch Projects. Originally, the gallery showcased only Swiss artists (like food sculptor Dieter Roth) for mostly expat audiences, but the institute has since expanded to include other European works. Today, the majority of exhibitions highlight various national identities and viewpoints, using art as a means to provoke cultural dialogue. (Although independently run, the nonprofit center still receives funding from the Swiss government and Pro Helvetia, the Art Council of Switzerland.) The minimalist space—consisting of a lobby, a larger main room, and a studio that serves as an additional gallery area—is reconfigured for each exhibition to accommodate illustrations, sculptures, and multimedia installations. And between exhibitions, the versatile space is equipped to host events ranging from book launches to subtitled Swiss film screenings to even the occasional yoga class.