A Downtown Gallerist Spreads His Wings

Name: Alexander Shulan

Age: 32

Hometown: SoHo neighborhood of New York

Now lives: In a studio apartment in the West Village section of Manhattan.

Claim to Fame: Mr. Shulan is the owner and curator behind Lomex, a downtown Manhattan gallery that has a knack for representing New York artists on the cusp. His exhibitions have helped further the careers of the sculptor Robert Bittenbender; the multimedia filmmaker Maggie Lee; the conceptual photographer Oto Gillen — all of whose work went on to appear at the Whitney Museum of American Art and other top museums. His focus on emerging local talent is an antidote to what he calls the “influx of tech money” that pervades the commercial gallery world. “I am very concerned with providing somewhere for individuals to project their imagination,” he said.

Big Break: Mr. Shulan credits growing up in the 1990s in SoHo for nurturing his art instincts. “As a kid, it was always really exciting to me that I could just walk into a gallery.” After graduating from the University of Chicago, he returned in 2011 and was an editor for Kaleidoscope, the independent art magazine, and staged guerilla-style shows in Chinatown storefronts. “It’s not a model that generally generates a lot of sales,” he said, “but it definitely was a way for me to learn how to put together exhibitions and interact with artists in a new way.” At 27, he opened Lomex on the Bowery, on the top floor of an 18th-century rowhouse that once belonged to the sculptor Eva Hesse. “I wanted to create a new place for artists in the city while also being super sensitive to the historical background of the building,” he said.

Latest Project: Like many New Yorkers during the pandemic, Mr. Shulman saw shrinking real estate prices as an opportunity to upgrade. This month, Lomex moves to a 2,400-square-foot loft at 86 Walker Street in TriBeCa. The first show, with the painter Andrea Fourchy, opened March 15.

Next Thing: In May, Lomex will exhibit the neo-Gothic, comics-inspired paintings of Kyle Christensen Knowles. He’s hoping there will be a wine-and-cheese opening, when it is safe enough for people to gather. “I used to have these really raucous openings, which are actually really good formats for all kinds of interactions between people who are not normally in the same room together,” Mr. Shulan said. “Historically, good art comes out of social situations.”

Art History: Lomex is named after Lower Manhattan Expressway, the failed interstate highway proposed by Robert Moses in the 1960s, that would have bulldozed through SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown and other vibrant neighborhoods. “With all that’s happening with the city right now, it’s important for people to begin to think about the changing landscape of New York,” he said. “What should art spaces themselves feel like when the city finally starts to come back?”

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