We have talked a lot about Angel Orensanz. We shared with you art critic Calvin Reid’s thoughts on the Spanish Master, his travels around the world, what the French Art critic Pierre Restany had to say about him, some details of his accomplishments, and much more.
Today, we are changing the focus to talk a little about the Angel Orensanz Foundation. The building was originally the place of Anshe Chesed Synagogue, and it was built in a Gothic Revival style, designed by Berlin-born architect Alexander Saeltzer back in 1849 to house the local congregation of Jews in the Lower East Side. It is the fourth oldest synagogue building in the United States and the longest-standing one in New York City. It was also the largest synagogue there was at the time of its construction. The synagogue changed hands many times for many years, until it was abandoned in 1974.
Twelve years later, as Angel Orensanz was walking around the Lower East Side looking for a place to establish an art studio, he discovered the building, immediately deciding that it was the perfect place to work as a base for his projects. Soon afterwards he successfully bought the property, and, along with his brother Al Orensanz (now the Foundation’s director) went about restoring the building.
He and his team successfully converted it into and art gallery, foundation for the arts, and event space known as The Angel Orensanz Foundation. The next year, thanks to their efforts, the building was designated an official historic landmark of New York City.
As an event venue, The Angel Orensanz Foundation has welcomed Sarah Jessica Parker, Phillip Glass, Whitney Houston, Florence and the Machine, Alexander Mcqueen, Spike Lee, Lady Gaga, Steven Spielberg, and many others to its premises. With an interior that resembles the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris and the sanctuary designed to look like the Sistine Chapel, it’s no wonder why people fall in love with our Foundation.
Over the years the Angel Orensanz Foundation has held many artist exhibitions, such as Hush and Luis Buñel. It is also the permanent studio and performance space of the Spanish Master Angel Orensanz. We also cooperate with PS1/MoMA; The Goethe Institute, the Whitney Museum in New York; The Italian Cultural Institute, New York University; Columbia University and Princeton University; the National Russian Museum of St. Petersburg and the Royal Shakespeare Co. of London; The World Council of Peoples for the UN, the United Jewish Council and the American Academy in Rome.
The Angel Orensanz Foundation was inaugurated officially in 1992 and during its 20th anniversary what better way to celebrate it than with an exhibition that features its creator? Our featured exhibit, Burning Bronzes starts tomorrow (Sept 12th), with the opening at 6 pm, so if you are in New York City, this is your opportunity to see this amazing place on the Lower East Side and appreciate the beautiful works of Angel Orensanz.