80-Square-Foot Gallery Coming to Essex Street
LOWER EAST SIDE — They say good things come in small packages.
What could be one of the Lower East Side's tiniest galleries is outfitting its 80 square feet of real estate on Essex Street in preparation for opening.
The yet-to-be-named gallery at 25A Essex St. will be occupying the diminutive storefront that formerly housed the game repair shop XCUBICLE near the corner of Hester Street. Not only will the miniscule space operate as an office and gallery — it can also stand alone as its own work of art.
"I'm taking the space and making it presentable," said carpenter-turned-artist Lukas Geronimas, 32, who is partnering with Helga Christoffersen on the gallery. "I am framing it."
Christoffersen rented out the mini-storefront a few weeks ago after XCUBICLE expanded to a bigger space next door at 25 Essex St. in May. Since then, she has been using the vacant shop as an office. When the renovation is complete in September, the plan is to host events and exhibitions there, Christoffersen said.
Geronimas partnered with Christoffersen for the opportunity to turn the store, the walls of which he will finish with a plywood, into his own work of art.
"It gives it a feeling of warmth," Geronimas said of the simple and natural walls.
No plans have been drawn up for how the gallery will look because Geronimas is working intuitively from his personal vision, he said.
"It is about working around the problems," said Geronimas, a Bard College graduate with a masters in fine art, who learned woodworking while spending a year in Hawaii.
While Geronimas might be creating art, he is also employing a design for the space that is "intelligent" and functional, much like his own creations, he said.
For example, in the gallery Room East on Orchard Street, Geronimas has three wooden hooks on display. Paintings hang from two, and the third stands alone affixed to a white wall by itself.
To augment the Essex Street gallery with useful features, Geronimas has thought of pinning a floating office desk of Plexiglas to the wall with brackets or suspending it from the ceiling by rope. Shelving will also be created for the rear wall that will act as a piece of art in itself, but will double as a display for things like sculptures during exhibitions.
Relics from the store's former use will also remain, Geronimas said. The walkup window once utilized by XCUBICLE to serve its customers will stay, and mirrored paneling that lined the walls will also be worked into the final design.
"We are trying to use what is available," he said.