Two years down: New York’s RH Contemporary Art continues to break new ground

RH Contemporary Art, in New York's Chelsea district, is housed in an imposing and historic six-storey building

Brook Mason
22 Jun 2015

Housed in a historic six-storey building – encompassing a staggering 28,000 sq ft – complete with roof garden, RH Contemporary Art in Chelsea, New York, has got all bases covered. Though only founded in 2013, the gallery has already developed an ambitious programme of events, as well as producing documentaries on its artists and an annual journal. 

’Our goal has been to spotlight a range of international emerging artists while nurturing new talent in a variety of mediums, from video to paintings and more,’ says Holly Baxter, the gallery’s vice president, who tapped a team of international curators – from locales as distant as Hong Kong, London and Mexico City – as advisors in seeking out young artists. 

The gallery has been a pacesetter since its inception. British collective Random International’s Rain Room – an immersive installation of falling water that allows the ’viewer’ to walk through the artwork without getting wet – was a mesmerizing first acquisition; RH Contemporary loaned the piece to the Museum of Modern Art for the 2013 ’EXPO 1: New York’, where it drew unprecedented crowds. 

The gallery is currently showcasing the collective’s kinetic 2010 sculpture Swarm Light, in which any sound – from a mere whisper to a full on shout – sparks tiny constellations of LEDs. A version of that work is also on permanent display in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.  

Also not to be missed is the Oslo-based artist Aurora Passero’s new spin on tapestries. ’I first spotted them on exhibit at the Oslo Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art and immediately sought out the artist,’ says Baxter. The work is both refined and beguiling; the patterns and tones of Triggers #3 – an eight-foot textile work in a palette of apricot, silver and dusty rose – appear to shift and change as one moves around the piece.

But RH Contemporary Art isn’t just about showing work. The gallery also runs an artist residency program, accommodating the participants in a nearby two-bedroom loft with studio.

So what’s around the corner for RH Contemporary Art? It’s simple: continuing to build on their foundation of breaking emerging talent.

The gallery – which also has a roof garden – covers a staggering 28,000 sq ft 

The gallery's first acquisition was Rain Room, the already iconic work by British collective Random International

Rain Room is an immersive installation of falling water that allows the 'viewer' to walk through the artwork without getting wet

RH Contemporary Art loaned the piece to the Museum of Modern Art for the 2013 'EXPO 1: New York', where it drew huge crowds

The work has since been shown internationally, not least at London's Barbican centre

The gallery is currently showing Random International's 2010 sculpture Swarm Light...

... a responsive lightwork, in which shimmering constellations of LEDs are set off by ambient and viewer-generated sound

Andrés Galeano is a photographic collagist who lives and works in Berlin and Barcelona. His solo exhibition 'Unknown Photographers' is showing at the gallery until 5 September 


Galeano's meticulous images are constructed from photographs found in flea markets and second-hand shops

Galeano's images are both picturesque and emotionally resonant, 'finding connections that emphasise the continuity among strangers' experiences and their visual records of them'

'Lost Doubloons Rest' is a dual exhibition of the work of Norwegian artists Jorunn Hancke Øgstad and Tyra Tingleff, showing at RH Contemporary Art until 5 September. Tingleff's large, impressionistic paintings (pictured: The platform isn't any colour) are a perfect foil to Hancke Øgstad's more spare, earthy works

Everything arrived as sealed, like all of Tingleff's works, consists of oil paints applied to raw linen

'Lost Doubloons Rest' is one of four exhibitions currently showing in the gallery's extensive space

What next for RH Contemporary Art? It's simple, really: continuing to build on their foundation of breaking emerging talent