ABOUT ABXY LES
ABXY is a Lower East Side Gallery specializing in emerging minority artists. Inspired by the salon-style galleries of history’s great female art collectors – women like Peggy Guggenheim and Gertrude Stein – ABXY formed in 2015 when streetwise art advisor, Allison Barker, invited a carefully curated group of artists to use her SoHo home-office as studio space.
Born and raised in New York City, ABXY founder Allison Leigh Barker graduated from the Nightingale- Bamford School in 2006. She attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, where she earned degrees in Art History and French Literature.
Barker went on to pursue a career in curatorial work, independently developing exhibitions for museums, galleries, and contemporary artists throughout the US and Europe, while contributing to publications such as Art Republik and Whitewall Magazine. She has reported on topics ranging from Art Basel to art in outer space and interviewed contemporary icons like Rob Pruitt and Daniel Arsham.
As she cultivated lifelong relationships with international artists, collectors, and art professionals, Barker began consulting on acquisitions for the collections of friends and family. With an eye for new talent, in 2015 she founded ABXY (an acronym for Allison Barker x You). While the new venture formalized an organically expanding art advisory business, Barker simultaneously opened her SoHo home-office to a carefully curated group of young artists in need of studio space.
As the walls of Barker’s loft filled with their paintings, the space filled with friends – friends of the artists: a new generation of creators, curators, and thought leaders – and friends of the hostess: a new generation of entrepreneurs, patrons, and art collectors.
ABXY quickly became a haven for collectors and artists of all fields, backgrounds, and experience levels to discover one another. And under Barker’s ambitious direction, casual gatherings soon formalized into a cutting edge schedule of programming and events.
Almost immediately, ABXY was a hit. However, the spirit of diversity and inclusion upon which the business was founded came as an unwelcome novelty to some of Barker’s less progressive neighbors. When racial tensions in the building escalated, she turned to her family for guidance. In 2017, Barker teamed up with her uncle, godfather, entrepreneur and avid collector, John Barker to find a new home for ABXY. Just a few months later, together they opened an art gallery dedicated to emerging minority artists in the heart of Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
From their new headquarters at 9 Clinton Street, ABXY continues to provide studio space to its artists beneath the gallery while presenting exhibitions and events, which showcase the work of minority talent, engage new audiences, galvanize social justice, promote healing, and expand the conversation around contemporary art today.