New Kid on the Block: Front Art Space

Front Art Space facadeLeticia Ortega and Dionisio Cortes have opened “the smallest art gallery in New York,” on Chambers Street, in what used to be a souvenir kiosk. At 48 square feet, Front Art Space is indeed tiny, with just three walls to hang art on—and yet the inaugural show has 26 works by 11 artists.

Front Art Space artOrtega and Cortes, who live in Tribeca and run Wet Paint! Art Studio upstairs, have actually had an even smaller gallery in the past: The Window, in a window on Franklin, opened after 9/11 as a way to boost neighborhood morale; eleven artists were on its roster. Then came Nix in 2004, a much bigger gallery that shared space with Wet Paint!, when it was on Reade.

“My background is in architecture,” says Cortes. “So I’ve always fantasized about having a space like this.” The feeling must run in the family, because Ortega’s and Cortes’s adult sons, Dionisio and Mauricio, are also involved with Front, having handled the renovation and branding (as well as having their work in the inaugural show). Front’s motto is “anything goes”: painting, sculpture, video, installation…. “We’re even talking about having performances here,” says Ortega. The gallery might show anyone from Wet Paint! students to artists from abroad.

And as anyone walking by can tell, even after hours, the amazing thing about such a small space is that you can check out the art without even setting foot inside.

Front Art Space is at 118 Chambers (between Church and W. Broadway), 212-608-7676; Front will have an opening party on Oct. 17, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. (most of which will be upstairs at Wet Paint!).

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