Inside Salon 21: Alex Bass and SoHo's Fresh Space for Art, Conversation and Connection

Alex Bass of Salon 21. Photo by Moriah Swatelle

No stranger to the art world, Alex Bass takes SoHo by storm with her newly founded hybrid space, Salon 21; where the elements of interior design and art join. Part art advisory, part interior design firm, its aim is to host new ways of engaging with art and surrounding beauty.

For only the second exhibition since its September opening, Alex Bass welcomes Brooklyn-based artist Lucía Rodríguez Pérez to exhibit her abstract paintings in the salon, inspired by 18th-century French design, where crowds hung around with a glass of champ in hand at reception. This week, a night of comedy will cheer up the space with a performance by Nina Barnett.

As for Bass, her start in the arts comes from having previously worked at blue chip galleries and auctions, which led her to develop the salon with a more personable style. What felt like a good place to socialize, it also reminded me of SoHo's golden age that we read about when the district was a hot spot of creativity and aspiring galleries. Namely, Leo Castelli whom Bass takes deep inspiration from, having opened a gallery of his own in 1988 with pioneering force.

Salon 21 is just what the stylist neighborhood needs to shake up the ways in which we ingest art, whether by merely discovering new artists or supporting emerging talents.

Located at 52 Greene Street in SoHo, New York— you'll discover an impressive rollover dining/pool table, comfy couches complete with plush pillows, a spacious dining table for hosting, and, naturally, a well-stocked bar for the perfect finish!

Alex Bass talks us through the ideas behind her new development in an interview with Art Currently.

If you can word Salon 21 into one word, what would it be?


What were the initial ideas around opening Salon 21?

I realized that there was a void for the ‘in-between’ during my time working in the art world. Those who may not be exposed to this space regularly but whose unique points of view and passions are just as important. Salon 21 aims to fill this void in the social experiences available to New Yorkers interested in arts and culture. Our mission is to give new talent a platform to not only exhibit and sell their work, but create a dialogue around it.

Has it become everything you've wished for?

So far, our exhibitions and programs have really brought in amazing people who are interested in coming back time and time again to participate in the community we are creating. I really want to bring back a method of socialization with a specific focus on arts and culture that I have not seen in the city for one. Although I have studied art and have been working in the art world throughout college and my entire professional career, I have not been part of a space that feels inclusive and inspiring. I want Salon 21 to be a space for discovery, education, entertainment, and conversation, as well as a marketplace for emerging artists and young collectors to intersect in real life. Our calendar of programming and the services we offer bring together all of my passions from art and interiors to food and fashion. This is a space for people who love all of those things and want to meet others who do too.

What do you look for when exhibiting an artist?

What I value in art is its ability to invite multiple points of view and conversation. I look for artists who are influenced by specific art historical movements but are putting their contemporary spin on them. I also look for artists who are starting out in their careers and want to be a part of the community we're creating at Salon 21.

What can visitors expect in the upcoming months/year?

Visitors can expect a revolving door of artist panels, workshops, trunk shows, elegant dinners and cocktail parties, and much more. We are planning on doing a holiday market including small female-owned businesses related to stylish living. There are so many ways to participate in what we are building - so we really try to offer a variety of events each month to partake in. And what's really exciting is seeing people come back for the next thing, bring a friend, and enjoy the space. It's feeling like a real 21st century salon.