Thursday, September 8, 2011

Norwegian Seaman's Church and Trygve Lie Gallery: 52nd Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues

On first glance, you might miss the fact that the Norwegian Seaman's Church is also the location of the Trygve Lie Gallery open to the public.  I visited the gallery yesterday and was pleasantly surprised that there was such a lovely resource here in Turtle Bay.

"Bird with a View"
The gallery was opened on September 19, 2003 by the then-Norwegian Ambassador to the U.S. with the mission to promote Norwegian, Norwegian American and Scandinavian art to a broad audience.  It is named after Trygve Halfdan Lie (1896-1968), the first Secretary General of the U.N., who before the end of WWII was the first to propose an alliance of free democratic nations.  And like its namesake and the U.N. the Seamen's Church and the Trygve Halfdan Lie Gallery value the "human struggle for freedom and justice for all."  They make available art to the public in an effort to express these values and create a contemporary reminder of those ideals.  These are pretty lofty claimed goals, and while not immediately evident, upon reflection I would say there is merit to the effort.

"Looking Over Me"
The gallery has new Scandinavian art installations each month (although the current one appears to have been up since May 2011), and currently, there is a photography exhibit by Sigrid Thorbjornsen of New York City scenes.  Like the gallery at the Brazilian Endowment for the Arts down the street, this gallery also has original artwork for sale.  The current exhibit's prices range from $100 to $450, and although I am no expert, I really felt the mood of the photographs and they appealed to me (see above left and right).  The photo at right takes me back to Stephen Moffat's famous "Doctor Who" episodes about the Weeping Angels--but I digress.

The facility is spacious, clean, and well lit.  Although the gallery is small, if you are in the neighborhood, it is well worth ringing the buzzer for entry and taking a look.  Who knows, maybe you'll find a piece of art you'd like to buy/invest in?  When I went, one staffer just turned on the gallery lights and left me to my own devices.  No pressure at all.  It was quite nice on a rainy day.

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