Soho Contemporary Art at 259 Bowery on the Lower East Side is a continuation and rebirth of the artists that dominated The Bowery in the eighties, a time when both Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring became the epicenter for the emerging group of artists that blurred the lines between “Street Art” and “Fine Art”. Soho Contemporary Art focuses on bringing innovator and visionary Keith Haring back to his early roots on The Bowery. While Haring began to utilise blank billboards in subways and public spaces with chalk drawings and stylised graffiti Basquiat’s SAMO© (same old shit) became a recognised motif challenging oppressive power structures and racism while celebrating musicians and athletes of African descent.
Both artists have roots as “Street Artists” on and around The Bowery and Lower East Side of Manhattan. Both artists died young leaving a finite amount of work which has continued to increase in value, and now what remains is a “scarcity” of available art for acquisition. Haring and Basquiat continue influence the world of contemporary art which is at an unprecedented level of popularity and market value and shows no sign of relenting. The opportunity to acquire originals and limited edition prints becomes less achievable each year. In life and in death, by asserting the collective voice of social commentary and replacing desolation with art Haring and Basquiat joined a legacy of exceedingly collectible Bowery based artists. Roy Lichtenstein had a studio on the Bowery and Robert Indiana lived here.
Soho Contemporary Art embodies a rebirth of the artists that dominated The Bowery in the eighties. It is nestled a block away from the Houston Mural, Haring’s first major outdoor mural which became his catalyst for large scale work and consequently made the wall the most coveted by artists in New York in recent years. Amid the New Museum, high end retail, art and fine dining destinations The Bowery is now a far cry from the impoverished skid row streets it was known for flooded with drugs, prostitution from the 1940’s until the 1990’s. Neighboured by notable landmark establishments Soho Contemporary Art is expanding its reputation as a gallery led by owner Rick Rounick who has 3 decades experience selling and collecting Contemporary Art. When Rounick decided to open Soho Contemporary Art, he was instinctively led to The Bowery where the roots of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s art are firmly planted.
Both artists works have continued to increase in value and their stature in the art world has continued to rise. They died very young and they did not create a lot of work. Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat have continued to gain respect and recognition from curators and museums around the world. I really believe they are still way undervalued.
– Rick Rounick, Soho Contemporary Art