High above New York City exists a gallery unlike any other. The Clocktower Gallery, founded in 1972 by Alanna Heiss, is unique not only because of its location, but because of the alternative, experimental works and artists it is dedicated to showcasing. Located on the top floor of a 19th century McKim, Mead, and White building in Lower Manhattan, the Clocktower has been a hub for unconventional, groundbreaking pioneers in contemporary art for more than 40 years.


The Clocktower Gallery is unlike any arts gallery you’ve seen before.
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Throughout its existence, the Clocktower Gallery has hosted avant garde artists and their works; it’s a place where incredible exhibits are accessible to the New York City public, and where a first-of-its-kind radio show has thrived while garnering global attention. The Clocktower’s in-house radio station, ARTonAIR, is a free online audio archive that consists of non-commercial music, spoken word, cultural news, history, and art dialogue, and is as committed to showcasing groundbreaking artists as the gallery itself.

Since the Clocktower Gallery’s 1972 beginnings, it has hosted a slew of contemporary artists, ranging from emerging visionaries to some of the most influential artists of our time, including Lynda Benglis, Dennis Oppenheim, Charlotte Moorman, Laurie Anderson, Nam June Paik, among many others. According to the gallery’s mission, “Today, the Clocktower presents a full program of exhibitions, performances, and residencies that honor the spirit of the alternative spaces movement by focusing on experimental, interdisciplinary, and intergenerational projects.” Incorporating online media has also allowed the Clocktower Gallery’s ARTonAIR station to thrive as a 21st century living arts initiative.


Art is on the air.
Image: Shutterstock

When Alanna Heiss shifted her focus to strengthening ARTonAIR at the Clocktower in 2008, the gallery experienced an innovative rebirth. Making art more accessible to everyone is something that Heiss has long been an advocate for, so it isn’t surprising that ARTonAIR is very much in line with her vision. Now, more than ever, the Clockwork Gallery is dedicated to showcasing the most experimental artists inside their physical art space, as well as transmitting curated, art-centric radio shows to anyone and everyone who has access to the Internet.

Find out for yourself what has made the Clocktower Gallery such a legendary New York City institution. Visit the gallery’s official website to learn about upcoming exhibits and to stream ARTonAIR online.