The Triplets From Belleville


The Belleville section of Paris and the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan are both storied districts, the former hosting Edith Piaf and Jane Avril, the latter home to Jimmy Cagney and Typhoid Mary. Belleville leads the way in emerging galleries, however, until September when midtown gets a taste of Paris in the form of Balice Hertling & Lewis. The new gallery is a collaboration between Daniele Balice and Alexander Hertling, of Paris gallery Balice Hertling (founded in 2007), and the American art critic David Lewis, who has contributed to Artforum and Mousse.

The new gallery will take up residence in the Film Center Building at 630 Ninth Avenue, between 44th and 45th streets. A monument of American Art Deco, the Ely Jacques Kahn-designed building is a New York landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Balice Hertling & Lewis is the latest addition to an area that is also home to the nonprofits Exit Art and the International Center of Photography; also nearby are Hosfelt Gallery and Heskin Contemporary, both in the west 30s.

Until recently, Lewis lived in Paris, where his conversations with Balice and Hertling led to the idea for the new venture. Balice Hertling shows young European-born artists, with the exception of the American-born K8 Hardy and Oscar Tuazon; the Manhattan gallery will balance this concentration with an added focus on New York artists.

During the Armory Show in March 2011, the gallery tested the waters in New York by opening a group show in the SoHo project space Front Desk Apparatus, which is run by art advisors Rob Teeters and Michael Capio in their townhouse office. That show included gallery artists Nikolas Gambaroff, DAS INSTITUT (Kerstin Braetsch/Adele Roeder) and Falke Pisano, among others. Hertling described the show to A.i.A. as a “rough draft” of the direction of the new gallery. It included, for example, New York-based painter Charles Mayton, who was born in Florida and trained at Bard.

Mayton’s first solo show, opening at Balice Hertling & Lewis on Sept. 16, will also be the gallery’s maiden exhibition. Brushy paintings that combine the abstract and the schematic, Mayton’s work, Hertling says, “explores questions of time, language and performance in painting, straddling abstraction and figuration.”

Next up will be a solo exhibition of pioneering feminist artist Mary Beth Edelson, followed by the first New York solo of young American neo-Pop painter Greg Parma Smith.


Above: Installation view from Front Desk Apparatus, 2010. Courtesy Balice Hertling & Lewis.