In the late-1980s and into the 1990s, at the tail end of SoHo’s heyday as the center of New York’s gallery scene, small and often specialized galleries thrived along the Broadway corridor. Dubbed “LoBro,” an acronym for Lower Broadway (Canal to 8th Street), the name caught on for a New York minute. The galleries were located in the upper floors of Broadway’s vast buildings, many of which were concentrated in two the buildings flanking Prince Street, 560 and 568 Broadway. Across the street were two major museums, namely The Guggenheim SoHo and The New Museum (read the recent post on Broadway museums here).
The concentration of arts venues transformed Broadway from a little-visited boulevard on SoHo’s outskirts to “a must stop on any SoHo tour and a frequent starting point for Saturday strollers and other adepts of up-to-the-minute art,” according to the New York Times in 1988.
The most well-known gallery on Broadway at this time was probably the Leo Castelli Gallery at 568 Broadway, an outpost of sorts for the legendary gallery at 420 West Broadway of the same name. At his Broadway gallery, Castelli showed works by Dan Flavin, Edward Ruscha, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Morris, Robert Rauschenberg, and Donald Judd to name only a few.
568 Broadway was the home a number of galleries. The Susan Teller Gallery, on the fourth floor, specialized in the work of “lesser-known artists,” with a focus on American prints from the 1930’s and 40’s depicting the gritty city and the seedy side of life. Westwood Gallery, could also be found at 568 Broadway, opened in 1995 representing contemporary art in various media and just recently moved its gallery to Bowery between Prince and Houston.
The Max Protetch Gallery, at 560 Broadway on the second floor was known for its architectural drawings by Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Rem Koolhaus, Bernard Tschumi, Arata Isozaki, Aldo Rossi and Michael Graves.
A/D Gallery, located on the sixth floor at 560 Broadway commissioned painters and sculptors to make functional objects, such as a limited-edition hand-loomed rug designed by the painter Chuck Close and a sofa made from foam and parachutes by John Chamberlain.
Janet Borden Gallery, located down the hall from A/D, specialized in cutting-edge, large-format images when outscale photography was in vogue.
Richard Meyer African Art was on the third floor at 594 Broadway. Meyer showcased African artifacts, art and textiles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Other LoBro galleries included John Gibson, Lang & O’Hara, Diane Brown, Curt Marcus, Salvatore Ala, Koury-Wingate, Staley-Wise, Janet Borden, Julie Saul, Michael Ingbar, Nolan/Eckman, Berman/Daferner, and Snyder Fine Art, among others.