Eight artworks to discover at New York’s Ludlow House
With more than 250 pieces across four floors, here are the gems you shouldn’t miss on your next visit
Thursday 28 September 2023 By Anastasiia Fedorova
During September, we have celebrated 20 years of Soho House in North America and the connection our Houses have to the interesting and complex history of American art. You might have already enjoyed our tours through the refreshed collections at Soho House New York and Soho House West Hollywood, as well as a spotlight on ‘pop art nun’ Corita Kent. To wrap up the month, we unveil the art highlights of Ludlow House in New York’s Lower East Side.
Opened in 2016, Ludlow House occupies a 143-year-old building of a former gold leaf factory. The interior takes the best advantage of industrial architecture: with warehouse-style large windows, a rooftop skylight canopy with lush greenery, and cosy secluded spots by the open fireplace. Art is present throughout all four levels of the space, with more than 250 artworks – one of the biggest art displays across our global Houses.
The original collection was curated by Francesca Gavin in 2016 to showcase a rich array of international talent, including heavyweights such as Tracey Emin, Rashid Johnson, Marilyn Minter, and Deana Lawson. In 2020, Soho House Art Collection Manager, Sara Terzi, added a selection of cutting-edge New York-based talent to better connect the art display in the House with the burgeoning scene.
Here, we asked Soho House Global Director of Art, Kate Bryan, to pick eight works that are unmissable – and represent the spirit of Ludlow House and the city around it.
George Condo, ‘Untitled’, 2016
Everyone recognises a Condo, even if you’re not an art buff. You might have seen the artist’s misshapen characters on a cover of Kanye West’s album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Condo’s ‘psychological cubism’ has captivated minds well beyond the white cube. With a career spanning more than four decades and dozens of leading world art institutions, a small artwork in the Soho House collection offers a rare chance to see it in a more relaxed setting.
Nan Goldin, ‘Simon On The Subway’, NYC, 1998
American photographer Nan Goldin has a cult status as an image-maker capturing intimacy, queerness, and precious fleeting moments between people across continents and decades: from 1980s New York to 1990s Berlin. She is also a widely recognised activist at the roots of Prescription Addiction Intervention Now, or P.A.I.N., campaign calling to make the Sackler family accountable for the opioid crisis in the US, which successfully convinced numerous art institutions to stop accepting their donations. Goldin’s portrait in the Soho House collection reflects the tenderness and power at the heart of her vision.
Joyce Pensato, ‘Mickey-Donald’, 2016
Born in Brooklyn in 1941, Joyce Pensato was most known for reimagining cartoon characters and comic-book heroes. Plucked from pop culture, in her works they would become overblown, eerie, darkly funny, dripping at the edges. Splattering, erasures, mixing colours and influences from grimy graffiti in the streets of her native New York allowed her to reclaim American icons like Batman, Mickey Mouse, Felix the Cat or Homer Simpson for her own artistic universe.
Elliott Jerome Brown Jr, ‘Wilting’, 2018
American visual artist and photographer Elliott Jerome Brown Jr describes his work as ‘a documented abstraction of daily life’. He uses photography to explore representation through privacy and fiction, often focusing on blackness in domestic and intimate spaces. Occasionally, his work turns away from standard archival prints to examine photography as a sculptural and site-specific process, giving it a tactile, tangible quality.
Anthony Cudahy, ‘Chris’, 2018
Portraits and figurative paintings by Anthony Cudahy are inspired by multitudes of visual sources: from old masters and gay iconography to film stills or day-to-day snapshots of his partner. He is exploring queer experience across generations, as well as the nuanced nature of spaces and people within them through a masterful work with light and shadow.
Xaviera Simmons, ‘Untitled (Cape)’, 2010
Xaviera Simmons is one of the most established artists unpacking the social, spiritual and political histories of the US. Her work spans photography, painting, video, installation and billboards, and examines and confronts the white American dominance, capitalism and the history of the United States empire. Apart from Ludlow House, her works can also be seen at Soho House Rome and The Ned NoMad in New York.
Michael Stipe, ‘Gordon Matta-Clark’, 2016
This raw, gritty mix-media work is an homage to 1970s cult artist Gordon Matta-Clark, who was famous for radical site-specific works in that era. The work is authored by Michael Stipe, who is more well-known as the frontman of the rock band R.E.M, but who has also harboured a photographic and artistic practice for decades.
Brad Kahlhamer, ‘Veronica’, 2004
Drawing on his tripartite identity, Brad Kahlhamer’s work navigates his Native American heritage, adoptive German-American family, and adult life in New York City’s Lower East Side. Working in a range of media, including sculpture, drawing, painting, performance and music, he explores what he refers to as the ‘third place’ – a meeting point of two opposing personal histories. Reimagining a subjective vocabulary through a neo-expressionist lens, Kahlhamer’s work references movements like German expressionism, while incorporating highly personal iconography.
Explore all the art collections at our Houses around the world.