For 33 years, art lovers have been climbing the daunting staircase up to Etherton Gallery, perched high on the second floor of downtown’s historic Oddfellow Hall.
It’s always been worth it.
Right now, for example, if you trek up the 27 steps, you’ll see not one but two stunning exhibitions of 20th century documentary photography.
“Danny Lyon: Thirty Photographs” is a tribute to the best photos of Lyon’s extraordinary career. The other show, “For the Record: Documentary Photographs from the Etherton Gallery Archive,” shows off 85 black-and-white images shot by a throng of renowned photographers: Robert Frank, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Flor Garduño, and Garry Winogrand.
These two gems will be the last Etherton exhibitions in the handsome Sixth Avenue gallery, and the first exhibition in a new space. Proprietor Terry Etherton is ending his 33 years downtown and moving to a one-story building at 341 S. Convent St. in Barrio Viejo.
“The building was sold,” Etherton says of the current place. “It was time to move on. It’s a cool space. This is our 40th anniversary year. It’s a good time to make a move.”
Etherton opened his first gallery in a retail space on Sixth Street near Fourth Avenue; he stayed there for seven years before setting down roots in the Odd Fellows building.
“I was looking around over the years at other spaces,” he says, especially ones that could accommodate wheelchairs. The Convent space handily fits that bill with an accessible ramp; it also provides ample parking.
Etherton has never been able to show big sculptures in his current space—they’re too heavy to be hauled up the epic staircase—but he’ll be able to display 3D work with ease in the large patio out back of the Convent gallery. First up in the garden gallery will be big granite and glass works by Otto Rigan.
Inside, “We’ll have a grand opening in the fall, with a big Joel-Peter Witkin show, just him,” Etherton says. Works by the renowned photographer, a gallery favorite, will likely take up much of the gallery’s 3,400 square feet.