Real Estate Meets Art in NYC The move toward art-centric real estate in New York


By Aren Ebrahimi


The Art of the Building. A very real and exciting shift is taking place in New York City real estate, one that has always been there to some degree but not as prominent as today. I am referring to the ever-growing relationship between real estate and art.

This connection should seem obvious in an art mecca like New York, where artistic creations and expressions are such a big part of our lives. In recent years especially there has been a major movement toward the integration of art into real estate, and real estate into art. This phenomenon excites me, because while my first and foremost love is to sell New York real estate, my other deep passion is art.

I founded artREAL (art + real estate) to explore this synergy of art and real estate, both in New York and abroad. I am thrilled to be witnessing such a great interaction taking place.

Many developers are now choosing to collaborate with “edgier” architects, street artists and galleries to incorporate art into their developments, while others are creating structures that more so resemble art than they do real estate. Here are some examples:

  • Architects Herzog & de Meuron designed 56 Leonard Street in TriBeCa to liken a sleek modern sculpture rather than just a building. The massive Anish Kapoor sculpture at the base further melds architecture with art. The late Zaha Hadid’s West Chelsea building at 520 West 28th Street also resembles a gorgeous modern artistic masterpiece.
  • Real estate developer and art collector Michael Shvo is currently converting the old Getty gas station site at 239 Tenth Avenue in West Chelsea into a luxury condo building, aptly named ‘The Getty.’ Prior to its excavation and development, he turned this site into a public art installation called the ‘Getty Station.’
  • DDG, having collaborated with the Whitney Museum, Gagosian Gallery, Andy Warhol Foundation, and Yayoi Kusama, are known for injecting their developments with art. They recently invited the Parisian street artist JR to create a soaring mural on their 100 Franklin Street condo development. The large-scale image, originally taken at Ellis Island in 1908, is part of the artist’s ‘Unframed Ellis Island’ series. Last year, DDG commissioned JR to install a 100’-tall ballerina mural on the site, inspired by the artist’s Los Bosquets film.

A Transforming Medium. Conversely, in a social media and technology-driven world where access and accessibility rule, many artists, galleries and curators are considering their options and looking beyond the conventional gallery model and white square box. The art world is not the same as it was years ago, and the gallery system is no longer the right venue for all. As such, we’re seeing a new birth of pop-up installations and exhibitions in unconventional spaces, many in real estate spaces. Some examples:

  • NYC artist Lauren Seiden,  who was just featured on artREAL, partnered with design firm ASH to install her lush structural graphite ‘paintings’ in premier properties available for sale, allowing her to install a show while drawing additional attention to these properties.
  • Last year, real estate developer and mega art collector Aby Rosen along with curator Vito Schnabel announced their one-night art opening, First Show / Last Show at 190 Bowery, one of Lower East Side’s most fascinating and mysterious landmarks. Rosen had just purchased the building from photographer Jay Maisel, and was rumored to be turning it into condos.
  • artREAL and PULSE Contemporary Art Fair’s upcoming event, Leaning in – Champions of the Art World, is another art-focused event showcased in a non-art space, to be held at the private townhouse and penthouse of the new development 37 East 12th Street in Greenwich Village. Both are available for purchase at $14,995,000 and $26,900,000, respectively.

artREAL aims to capture the best of art and real estate in New York through collaborations with industry influencers and curation of work by established and emerging artists, combining the two worlds in new and unexpected ways.

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Click here for more information on Leaning in – Champions of the Art World.


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