While mega-galleries continue to expand in Chelsea, Madeleine Mermall and Catherine Fenton Bernath bet on the Lower East Side for their own roster of emerging artists. Earlier this month, they opened their exhibition space, Public Swim, down the street from Ellie Rines’s plucky, celebrated 56 Henry gallery and a stone’s throw from Parinaz Mogadassi’s Tramps space and Essex Flowers, among other nearby galleries.
Over the past few years, Mermall has curated
small shows and made good use of quirky locales, ranging from a former Brooklyn brewery to a beloved bookstore. Bernath is an artist with an MFA
The pair chose the Chinatown–Lower East Side area, Mermall said, because “the diversity of [the] neighborhood aligns with our extended mission to not only focus on art by emerging artists, but to work on methods of inclusion and transparency with our immediate neighbors and beyond.” The pair has begun reaching out to local organizations, institutions, and public schools to discuss ways to collaborate. The gallery’s inaugural show, “Elements of Existence” (up through March 8th), features work by eight painters who embrace the uncanny. Prices range from $30 to $4,500.