Painting the Town


Jaé Joseph’s guide to experiencing art in New York City

Photo by Atisha Paulson

(Main image: Public mural in Detroit by Nina Chanel Abney)

THERE ARE NUMEROUS reasons why New York City is so special. The music, the shopping, the food and, of course, the art. Still home to much of the art world’s most notable talents, their works are covering much more than canvases throughout the city. From seeing Chris Wolston’s flowers adorn Fendi handbags to watching Shantell Martin’s drawings dance across the bodies of the NYC Ballet dancers, art is ubiquitous throughout the Big Apple.

One of the most influential figures within the community, Jaé Joseph, is the dot connector behind many important collaborations and shows. His unique mission—to form a deeper connection between the world and art—has given him access to several exclusive studios. Here he unlocks what’s happening behind gallery walls.

How has the art community evolved over the past five years? People are taking note of the increasing representation of diversity. The community has become more inclusive of artists of color and female artists, with shows and programming that now ensure their voices are heard.

“Splay” by Kennedy Yanko, in the collection of Carole Server and Oliver Frankel

What local artists are on your radar? I’m in love with what Derek Fordjour is doing. He’s pushing the conversation with a body of work that’s consistent with his messaging. Also, Kennedy Yanko is one of the most unique artists to watch right now. She is a woman of color and working with metal and paint skins (mediums other artists don’t use). Finally, Nina Chanel Abney’s work is fantastic. It’s playful, full of color and has a socioeconomic and political message as well.

What’s the most efficient way to tour New York City when buying art?
Don’t limit your research and hunting exclusively to art-focused fairs and events. So many galleries are opening in the Lower East Side, Harlem and Bushwick. I encourage people to scour the neighborhoods and see what excites them the most. It doesn’t have to be Chelsea!

Do artists like studio visits from prospective patrons? Absolutely! I actually think they prefer it because they’re in their own environment, which offers a more comfortable and intimate way to show their work. Additionally meeting a patron this way gives the artist confidence about the home their work will be in and how it will be treated.

“Consumption Flu” by Melvin “Grave” Guzman from ABXY Gallery



-MUSEUM: Brooklyn Museum

-HOTEL: Hotel Americano


-RESTAURANT: Minnie’s on Clinton

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