From its façade and unassuming banner, the MARC STRAUS Gallery may seem like just another art gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, occupying prime real estate on Grand Street. But it’s more than the location or the carefully curated international artwork spanning multiple eras and styles that set it apart.
Just as unique as the collection of contemporary, thought-provoking pieces from 30+ artists is the founder’s background. In 2011, Marc Straus, a semi-retired oncologist and enthusiastic art collector, decided to shift gears and become an art dealer and gallerist. It is not Straus’ second career, either. In addition to running a 150-person medical practice with more than 70,000 patients, the entrepreneur has launched medical software companies, authored texts about lung cancer and even published poetry. He is also an architect and helped design his 3,000-square-foot art gallery, which is – on the inside – as unique as its founder. From basement storage space to the double-height ceilings on the second-floor gallery, the building reflects the eccentricity of its occupant and serves as a superior showcase for the variety of art inside.
The space, featuring 300-year-old hickory floors and the artwork within, reflect a spirit of discovery and re-discovery that is also evident in Straus’ myriad of careers. The artists span multiple periods in contemporary art and work in a variety of media, from canvas to found objects. For instance, Jeffrey Gibson’s Where I’m Calling From, 2014, uses an Everlast punching bag, wool, canvas, repurposed paintings, glass beads, shells, steel, tin, plus jingles, sequins and neon fringe that calls to mind southwestern art. Chris Jones’ Templates for Disappearance is another colorful and provocative piece created in 2020, using magazine and book images, paper, board, wire and polymer wash to depict a collection of arched doorways. The British sculptor’s fragmented images cause us to create – or re-create – our own stories and memories when we look at the piece. Other notable art in the collection includes Otis Jones’ White Rectangle with Black and Red Circles, 2020, crafted with acrylic, linen and wood and Sandro Chia’s Promenade, an oil on canvas painting of a woman leading a horse.
Artists represented in the space include Thomas Bangsted, Michael Brown, Folkert de Jong, Anna Leonhardt, Hermann Nitsch, Jonh Oh, Rona Pondick, Paul Pretzer, Ulf Puder, Margaret Loy Pula, Carlos Quintana, Omar Rodriguez-Graham, Anne Samat, Antonio Santin, Jeanne Silverthorne, Clive Smith, Zlatan Vehabovic, Marie Watt, Entang Wiharso, Xi Zhang and others.
The gallery attends numerous fairs across the world each year, including the Expo Chicago, Frieze New York, Masterpiece Online, Zona Maco, The Armory Show and the India Art Fair, frequently selling out at such endeavors.
In seeking art for his business, Straus seeks bright, provocative paintings, sculptures and mixed media artwork that represents a variety of styles. Emphasizing mid-career artists, Straus also favors unsung or underrepresented older artists whose work may have been out of the public eye for decades – or never showcased.
Bold and colorful, artwork from MARC STRAUS gallery can serve as a focal point or conversation piece in any room of a contemporary, traditional, transitional, or mid-century modern home.