Surname: Alexander Shulan
Hometown: SoHo neighborhood of New York
Now lives: In a studio apartment in the West Village of Manhattan.
Claim to fame: Mr. Shulan is the owner and curator of Lomex, a downtown Manhattan gallery that knows how to put New York artists at the forefront. His exhibitions promoted the career of the sculptor Robert Bittenbender; multimedia filmmaker Maggie Lee; concept photographer Oto Gillen, whose work has all been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art and other top museums. His focus on emerging local talent is an antidote to the “influx of tech money” that is permeating the world of commercial galleries. “I’m very keen to give individuals a place to let their imaginations run wild,” he said.
Big break: Mr. Shulan credits for growing up in SoHo in the 1990s to nurture his art instincts. “As a child, it was always very exciting for me that I could just go to a gallery.” After graduating from the University of Chicago, he returned in 2011 and was an editor at Kaleidoscope, the independent art magazine, staging guerrilla-style shows on Chinatown’s storefronts. “It’s not a model that generates a lot of sales in general,” he said, “but it was definitely a way for me to learn how to put exhibitions together and interact with artists in new ways.” At the age of 27 he opened Lomex in the Bowery on the top floor of a row house from the 18th century that once belonged to the sculptor Eva Hesse. “I wanted to create a new place for artists in the city and at the same time be very sensitive to the historical background of the building,” he said.
Latest project: Like many New Yorkers during the pandemic, Shulman saw falling house prices as an opportunity to upgrade. This month, Lomex is moving into a 2,400 square foot loft on 86 Walker Street in TriBeCa. The first exhibition with the painter Andrea Fourchy opened on March 15th.
Next thing: In May, Lomex will exhibit the neo-Gothic, comic-inspired paintings by Kyle Christensen Knowles. He hopes there will be a wine and cheese opening when it’s safe enough for people to gather. “I used to have these really loud openings, which are actually really good formats for all kinds of interactions between people who aren’t usually in the same room together,” Shulan said. “Historically, good art arises from social situations.”
Art history: Lomex is named for the Lower Manhattan Expressway, the fancy freeway proposed by Robert Moses in the 1960s that would have ridden through SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown, and other vibrant neighborhoods. “In anything that’s happening in the city right now, it’s important that people start thinking about New York’s changing landscape,” he said. “How should art spaces feel when the city finally comes back?”