The past few years have seen galleries flocking to the Lower East Side. At first it was just the upstarts, but when a blue-chip Lehmann Maupin opened its satellite space on Chrystie Street last year, it seemed to christen the tenement-lined neighborhood as the bona fide stomping ground for art and commerce. Now the new kid on the Forsyth Street block is the aptly, and literally, named Half Gallery -- it splits the space with RxArt, a non-profit organization that teams up with well-known artists to create site-specific art for hospitals around the country. "[RxArt] was looking for a tenant, so I called Andy Spade and it went from there," recalls Bill Powers, a board member of RxArt and one of the three co-partners of the project. The third partner is writer James Frey of the now infamous quasi-memoir A Million Little Pieces. Spade, the force behind men's lifestyle brand Jack Spade, came up with the gallery's name. "Andy's a marketing genius," Powers coos.
Half Gallery is about the size of a pre-condo L.E.S. bedroom, which is to say, very small -- so Powers and company choose art that works in a limited space but still packs a lot of punch. For the inaugural exhibition in early April, Matt Damhave, co-founder of the fashion line Imitation of Christ, showed a dozen or so notebook-size collage drawings, which attracted viewers like ChlÃ¶e Sevigny and Ben Stiller. "The three of us have equal input in what we want to do with the gallery -- Robert Hawkins, the next artist we're showing, is somebody that Andy brought in," says Powers. "The goal is to show work of emerging and re-emerging artists and, as Duchamp put it, break even, plus ten percent."
Pictured (l,r) James Frey, Bill Powers, Andy Spade
Half Gallery, 208 Forsyth St., halfgallery.com. The Robert Hawkins exhibit runs through Jun. 14.