By TOM CHESEK
Veteran observers of Red Bank’s commercial streetscape know that the
phenomenon known as “the Retail Churn” goes into overdrive each January,
regardless of the general economic forecast.
Now, with the entire nation and much of the world in
uncharted economic seas, the phenomenon has returned to our local streets, with the already departed (Fameabilia, DesignFront, Nibus, ME) to the winding
down (New York Trend, Bellini Shoes), as well as those, like Bella
Mystique boutique, that promise to return at a new location.
Add Asher Neiman Gallery to that last category. According to proprietor Emily Asher Neiman, the
gallery will be relocating later this year as will Emily and her
boyfriend, web design wiz Simon Abramson to an as-yet-unspecified address in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn.
Saturday will be the final day of business at 16 Monmouth Street.
While Asher Neiman says the past year has been “amazing,” it’s
actually been just 10 months since the 29-year-old St. Louis native moved
into the downtown storefront previously occupied by Artforms, the pioneering
art space operated in Red Bank for nearly 25 years by Charlotte Scherer a
vanguard local dealer in contemporary art, and soon to be her stepmother.
What’s driving the move? Notice of a forthcoming rent increase on Monmouth Street caused her to take a hard look at her present needs, says Asher Neiman. Those needs turn out not to be so large.
“I honestly don’t need this big of a space,” she says, staking
out a spot on the floor of the airy and comfortably proportioned gallery that from the looks of it might accommodate two retail stores.
“I’ve been paying for a basement while I’ve been here, and since most of the
work here is consigned, I can return things to the artists rather than
having to store them.”
She chose Park Slope, she says, because it’s a place in which
“high-ticket items like artwork have some sell-ability, without the
neighborhood being overcrowded with competing businesses.
“I don’t want to go a ‘gallery row’,” she says, adding that the rents in
Park Slope are comparable in terms of square footage with what she’s seen in
For the final days of walk-in business on Monmouth Street, Asher Neiman will
be offering discounts on all paintings, sculpture and handmade
jewelry currently featured on the walls and shelves of the gallery. It’s a
selection that includes works by New York painters Christie Scheele and
Jenny Nelson, Shore area artists Francis Mesaros and Jill Ricci, as well as
photographer George Tice, sculptor Gina Novendstern, and an array of jewelry
artisans. Price tags range from 15 to 30 percent below the appraised retail value
of the pieces, according to Asher Neiman.
While their collective tenure in Red Bank is drawing to a close, both
Abramson and Asher Neiman regard their time here as “a blast… it’s a real
walking town, where you’re always running into people you know, and there’s
a genuine exchange of warmth,” she says.
After the gallery closes its doors at 6p on Saturday evening, its website
will remain up and running, with periodic updates on the planned relocation
and a planned makeover in which browsers can examine high-resolution
images of featured artworks in macro detail; “close enough to see the
textures of the painting surface.”
Asher Neiman also plans to present occasional shows in temporary spaces
around the New York metro area, and speculates that a Red Bank area show
could be a possibility prior to the opening in Brooklyn. Meantime,
inquiries can be directed to [email protected].