THE LAB:GALLERY is a New York based, converted storefront producing fast paced performance art and site-specific installations. Viewable exclusively from the sidewalk and aimed at the furious midtown foot traffic, THE LAB’s exhibitions seek to throw a moment of uncertainty into the predictable monotony of the midtown shuffle, forcing an interaction between the high energy, “outrospective” work it produces and the nearly 25,000 daily passersby. The LAB is located on the North East corner of 47th and Lex and is a Roger Smith Collaboration.


The LAB Gallery, established in February 2004, began as a collaboration between the Owner/CEO/Artist-in-Residence of the Roger Smith Hotel, James Knowles, their Artistic Director Matthew Semler and Dominick Lombardi as Curatorial Advisor.  A “curator’s gallery”, exhibiting group shows focused on a specific concept or theme, it quickly established itself as a place for local, national and international curators to experiment with new artistic ideas, relationships and aesthetics in a short, aggressive 10 day exhibition cycle. The pace of the programming allowed for The LAB to produce over 60 exhibitions in it’s first three years, showing the work of over 150 artists and nearly 450 individual objects of arts. The list of curators in those first three years included Jeff Kóan Baysa, Robert C. Morgan, Anjali Gupta, Helianthe Bourdeaux-Maurin, Enrico Pedrini, among many others. Participating artists included Dennis Openheim, Po Kim, Grimanesa Amoros, Daniel Rothbart, Margaret Envangeline, Rodney Dickson and Mose Hoskins.

In the spring of 2006 The LAB began an evolution, changing from a gallery for curatorial experimentation into a space dedicated to the exploration of installation and performance art. The shift began with Colombian performance artist Káta Mejía  and her show titled Beyond the Threshold. For it, Kata requested that the doors to the space be closed to the public, requiring that the audience view the performance from the sidewalk outside. The dynamic and bold effect this simple shift had on the passing public was immediate and powerful. Following Mejías show the gallery began the process of taking the art off the walls and produce works that physically filled the space, saturating the visual field, almost as if threatening to burst out through the windows into the intersection. January 2007 marked the official beginning of the gallery’s new direction. The space was renamed The LAB (for installation + performance art),  the doors were permanently locked to the public and the front wall was removed to completely open up the space to the corner. The fresh iteration was kicked off with Detainee, conceived and performed by David Duckworth, a scathing political commentary of the Bush-era stance on enhanced interrogation techniques  Other notable shows in the 2007 season were Lee Whitier’s Connectome, Parallel Time by Maureen Catbagan, Kata Mejia’s heart-wrenching Healing and Anindita Duta’s beautifully disturbing depiction of the power dynamics of sex in her installation B&B.

Matthew Semler says of the space, “The idea that despite what we think we know, what we think is definite, the artists we choose and the work that they bring to us continually dismantles our preconceptions, proving to us that there are ways to engage the corner of 47th and Lex we have yet to discover. “

The past four years, whether from Sophie Loss and Veronica Spirenburgh’s Audience to Audience, or Andre Stitt and Fritz Welch’ SHIFTwork,  Purgation of Nike by Robert Morgan or La Incubadora by Grimanesa Amoros, The LAB has, and continues to discover new ways of exploring the space and fresh ways of engaging the public.





physical address:
We are located on the North-East Corner of 47th Street and Lexington Avenue, NYC. (view map)

mailing address:
c/o The Roger Smith Hotel
501 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY. 10017