Jan 4, 2021
Feb 20, 2021


Presented by La MaMa Galleria
Curated by Sam Gordon

a black arrow pointing downward

DOWNTOWN 2021 takes its name from the film Downtown 81, which portrayed a day in the New York City of 1981 in all its glory. Forty years later, the exhibition acts as a sequel to the film, taking inspiration from downtown as an idea, a state of mind, and a generative space—rather than just a geographic location—and extending its scope beyond Manhattan to galleries in Brooklyn and Queens. The exhibition is composed of works by artists who have been included in current or previous exhibitions from a selection of over 25 galleries. An essay in two parts will accompany the exhibition; one on the artists and spaces in the exhibition, and the other on spaces from the recent past that have closed or are on hiatus, for a total of 50 spaces. Taken together, the spaces reveal the currents of new visual culture and the idea of a new downtown, taking shape through painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, video, installation, and touching on themes of collaboration, liberation, dance, and bartending.

La MaMa remains committed to health and safety practices that protect staff and patrons during the COVID-19 pandemic. All occupants must wear masks inside the Galleria at all times and are required to maintain physical distancing. Occupancy in the Galleria is limited to 15 people max. For more information regarding Galleria safety with regard to COVID restrictions please read this document.

9 Herkimer Place / Bill Jenkins · 321 Gallery / Jenni Crain · A.I.R. Gallery / Rosemary Mayer · CLEARING / Zak Kitnick · Deli Gallery / Adrianne Rubenstein · Elijah Wheat Showroom / Sara Maria Salamone · Zoe Fisher Projects / Elisabeth Kley, Matt Paweski · Fortnight Institute  / Peter Shear · Gloria’s / Leah Dixon · Higher Pictures Generation / K8 Hardy, D’Angelo Lovell Williams · Interstate Projects / Joel Dean · JAG Projects / Jessie Stead · Jenkins Johnson Gallery / Ming Smith · Luhring Augustine / Charles Atlas ·  Microscope Gallery / Peggy Ahwesh · Minus Space / Michelle Grabner · Mrs. / Tracy Miller · Orgy Park / Jacob Robichaux · Ortega y Gasset Projects / Frederick Weston · Pioneer Works / LJ Roberts · Sardine / Maria Calandra ·  Soloway / Hadi Fallahpisheh, Phoebe d’Heurle · Songs for Presidents / J. Stoner Blackwell, Lizzie Scott · Underdonk / Leilah Babirye · Welancora / Helen Evans Ramsaran · ZAK’s / Polly Apfelbaum, Madeline Hollander

Programs: Beverly’s / Sam Chun · Electronic Arts Intermix / Kalup Linzy · Wendy’s Subway / Sky Hopinka

Click here to view/download the press release and exhibition images for DOWNTOWN 2021.

Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is pleased to co-present an online video program component of this exhibition, as we celebrate our 50th anniversary and mark our founding in 1971 in downtown New York.  Click Here: https://downtown2021.eai.org

Each week, Wendy’s Subway shares PDFs produced by artists and spaces participating in DOWNTOWN 2021, that highlight their work and the artists on view in the exhibition. View them at this link: https://www.wendyssubway.com/resources/all/downtown-2021

Cover Image: Jessie Stead, Beaded Interludes (Dusk), installation view, 2020, curated by JAG Projects hosted by Honey’s, Brooklyn, NY, photo Suzi Sadler


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“Downtown New York is the Walt Whitman of places: it contains multitudes and contradicts itself. If you think it begins and ends in lower Manhattan, Sam Gordon wants to open your mind. The artist-curator organized the inspired polyphonic group show “Downtown 2021,” at La Mama Galleria, to propose that the downtown spirit may be best reflected at galleries—many of them artist-run—in Brooklyn and Queens.” – Andrea K. Scott, The New Yorker

La MaMa Galleria


Founded in 1984, La Galleria is a nonprofit gallery committed to nurturing experimentation in the visual arts. La Galleria encourages an active dialogue between new media, performance, the plastic and visual arts, curatorial projects, and educational initiatives. It serves the East Village community by offering diverse programming to an inter-generational audience, and expanding the parameters of a traditional gallery space. As a non-profit, La Galleria is able to provide artists and curators with unique exhibition opportunities that are largely out of reach in a commercial gallery setting.

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