Exploring New York’s Art Scene with Siegel+Gale’s First Thursday Walk: A Q&A with Bridget O’Neill

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Art Walk
Ellie Winter + friend viewing artwork

What is the purpose of the First Thursday Walk?

First Thursday originally acted as an initiative for interested parties at Siegel+Gale who wanted to submit work for the Imprint gallery—a curated collection of photography, film and video stills captured by our talented staff. Many of which are proudly displayed throughout our New York office for all to see. We thought the First Thursday Walk could help each other resolve creative ways to hang, project and display artwork, and foster an internal creative culture, no matter what the medium.

What inspired you to create this event?
A few reasons:
1. Imprint Gallery
2. To share in art and culture together as a group, to spend more time together outside of work and engage in viewing art and sharing in that experience.
3. Accessibility! Chelsea is our backyard as is the High Line. How many people can say that they have immediate access to the largest art scene in the world? Why not revel in NY’s playground for adults.

Art Walk
A Ghada Amer piece from her exhibit “Rainbow Girls,” part of last month’s walk

Describe the walk in three words.
Eventful. Relaxing. Fun.

How do you select which galleries to visit?
I usually start by reading the current show reviews that and are noted as the “hottest, must-sees”. If those are unavailable for that particular Thursday night then I try to choose galleries in which the work will be exaggeratedly differ from one gallery to the other, with a particular eye for work that pushes boundaries.

What feedback have you got from participants?
Everyone has unanimously agreed it’s an enjoyable evening. They witness something that they wouldn’t normally have done on their own; they enjoy both the cultural and the social aspect of it; and it inspires them as an artist or simply, as a viewer.

Art Walk
Alexandra Gregg and Jahan Jhala

What’s the most memorable piece/exhibit you’ve seen on the walk?

I loved Les Lalanne’s “Getty Station,” more commonly known as “the Sheep Station,” but a real highlight of a recent walk was the exhibit by London-based Kasmiri artist Raib Shaw at the PACE gallery.

One week we got trumped by Art Basel in Miami so all the galleries were closed so on the fly, we opted to attend the Lettering Event at the Type Directors Club. It was a cool lecture held at the TDC gallery, that I thought was strong and informative.

Art Walk
Michael Kagan’s “Thunder in the Distance” from last month’s Art Walk

What’s your favorite thing about NYC’s art scene?

My favorite thing would have to be that it is so highly accessible to us, and how privileged we are in that aspect. The art scene doesn’t only exist in Cheslea but in SoHo, the Upper East side, DUMBO, Bushwick and Queens. The art scene we visit on these walks will never only conform to classical “gallery” interior spaces, but rather you will see it on the walls of buildings, along the High Line, in performance pieces and more. I like that one can view art from all over the world and in every category. NYC is a smart, vibrant, diverse and thriving creative community.

Why should people attend the next First Thursday walk?
Because they can drink wine and view art for free and be among their peers outside of the Siegel+Gale walls. Is that not enough of a reason?!

The First Thursday Art Walk for May 1st, 2014 will be Gabi Trinkaus “Paradise with a Limp” at Claire Oliver (513 West 26th Street), followed by François Bard “Contre-Nuit” at Bertrand Delacroix Gallery (535 West 25th Street). More excursions will be announced ahead of the first Thursday each month, so stay tuned!

Bridget O’Neill is the Talent Recruiting Manager here at Siegel+Gale. You can follow her on Twitter @OneillBridgetA

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