New Gallery Fort Gansevoort Combines Art and BBQ in the Meatpacking District

This gallery/shop/restaurant is about to be your new go-to spot.

Photo: Courtesy Fort Gansevoort.
Fort Gansevoort. Photo: Courtesy Fort Gansevoort.

Fort Gansevoort.
Photo: Courtesy Fort Gansevoort.

As the New York art scene continues to creep further downtown, it’s worth noting that there’s a refreshing lack of typical white box art spaces being erected in Chelsea, with the Meatpacking District’s new galleries opting instead for more unique enterprises.

One such trailblazer is Adam Shopkorn, a collector and cultural ambassador. Fort Gansevoort, his new space, opened on July 16. Two floors of commercial gallery space is complimented by a pit barbecue to be manned by a new crop of “BBQ Residents” each year, as well as ample room for a rotating roster of designers and craft dealers to sell their wares on the first floor.

Photo: Courtesy Fort Gansevoort.

Photo: Courtesy Fort Gansevoort.

It may sound like a slightly offbeat endeavor, but in a city where there’s an unrelenting demand for new, conceptually-interesting places to eat, drink, view, buy, and hang out—preferably all at once—it may be ideal.

“I suppose it’s ironic that I’m opening a project space,” Shopkorn told artnet News during a telephone interview, “because my joke for many years running was that the last thing that New York needs is another gallery.”

“But the idea was to do something different—something unconventional, ” he continued.

The crowd at the opening of Fort Gansevoort. Photo: Max Lakner/BFAnyc.com

The crowd at the opening of Fort Gansevoort.
Photo: Max Lakner/BFAnyc.com

The 1849 Greek revival row house formerly housed the restaurant 5 Ninth and lay dormant for about 18 months before Shopkorn moved in. “The concept really came out of the bones and feel of the space,” he says.

For his first show in the gallery, Shopkorn tapped prolific graffiti artist CES, whose work he has admired for years.

“I decided one night that I was going to start following all these old school graffiti writers [on Instagram],” he recalls. “And I found the most incredibly delicate, kind of sweet still life drawings that he was making…these drawings are the antithesis of the graffiti that I used to gawk at when I was a teenager.”

CES. Photo: Max Lakner/BFAnyc.com

CES.
Photo: Max Lakner/BFAnyc.com

Shopkorn likens CES’s unexpected ink-on-paper works, which depict everything from crumpled cigarette butts to dripping popsicles, to those by Claes OldenburgSalvador Dali, and James Rosenquist.

While future shows have not been formally announced, Shopkorn is enthusiastic about making talented but under-the-radar artists his bread and butter—along with artisanal barbecue, of course.

Photo: Max Lakner/BFAnyc.com

Photo: Max Lakner/BFAnyc.com

“I stood in the exterior courtyard of the building for an hour one day and I asked myself ‘what needs to happen here?’ and what I kept coming back to was that I need to bring in a commercial-grade barbecue smoker,” he says. He envisions people in the tourist-heavy Meatpacking District queuing up outside the courtyard’s small takeout window to enjoy a snack after a long day on the High Line or at the nearby Whitney Museum of American Art.

But with a bar on every floor, a location in the heart of the hottest neighborhood in town, and lush wood paneling that picks up the mouth-watering flavors of the meat being smoked outside, we predict hip art enthusiasts doing a lot more than just stopping by for a sandwich.


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