Cutting edge becomes approachable with NY Gallery Tours

“People who are scared of inventiveness, of outrageousness, of artists questioning the very nature of what art is, will not enjoy my tours.  People who are looking to see “pretty” art that would go great with the color scheme in their living rooms will find the cutting edge art that I show them to be too mind-boggling.” -Rafael Risemberg.


New York Gallery Tours was founded in 2002 by Rafael Risemberg, Ph.D. Prior to beginning this venture, he spent sixteen years as a college professor of art history and three years as an art critic for New York Blade. He now utilizes all of his vast knowledge and passion for the art scene to give amazing tours of galleries around New York City.

New York City has undeniably become a major art Mecca, boasting over 600 galleries. Tours are offered in several neighborhoods, each with its own unique art scene: Upper East Side, Chelsea, SoHo, Lower East Side, and even Brooklyn. Partaking in a weekly scheduled tour means that you will get a chance to be lead by an expert through one of the most fascinating exhibits happening that week in NYC, for a very reasonable price. Scheduled group tours will cost between $15-$25 per person. According to Risemberg, the going rate for comparable experiences is generally closer to $40-$60.

But do not think that because you are going through a tour as a group, that you will feel deprived of a personalized experience. Founder Rafael Risemberg will be sure to dedicate time and energy to each and every group member, ensuring individualized attention, which has helped him to cultivate a community of dedicated clients.

As he explains, “Unlike other gallery tour directors, my clientele tends to be people who live in the New York City area (the 5 boroughs, New Jersey, Westchester, and Long Island).  Though of course I welcome tourists on all my tours, and they make up around 10 – 15% of my clientele, tourists tend to be one-time clients, and I really enjoy cultivating ongoing relationships with people who want to be on top of the ever-changing art scene and want to develop a more insightful and global understanding of the contemporary art world. 

New York City, a major art Mecca, is the perfect city to explore galleries.

“I believe I’m the only person in the city who makes his entire living leading art gallery tours.  Therefore, because I don’t have another part-time job somewhere, I can devote myself to visiting the city’s 600 galleries, all of which change over to new exhibits every 4 – 6 weeks.  Absolutely no one visits more new exhibits than I do every month.” says Risemberg.

With a constant fresh eye for what is new, interesting, and cutting-edge in the NYC art scene, Risemberg searches and hand-picks the galleries that he wants to expose his clients to. Some of his recent tour offerings include the following:

LGBT Gallery Tour in Chealsea, which showcases a nude portrait of a man (painted– despite risk to his life– by a gay Muslim artist from the Middle East), a photography/videography set in which a lesbian photographer appears in androgynous, masculine, and feminine looks, and a talk by a gay male artist specializing in erotic paintings; Chelsea “Bet Exhibits” Tour, featuring major show-stopping pieces utilizing computer-based light in art, enormous photorealistic paintings, and incredible sculpture work; and Lower East Side Gallery Tour, featuring this blossoming art community’s fresh and young new exhibits.

Private tours can also be arranged for individuals, couples, and private small groups. $195 covers one to two people, while $300 is the rate for medium groups. You can even book one of these coveted private tours for groups up to 75 guests. If you are a die-hard art junkie, you can even get a one-year unlimited pass for $300. This includes a full year of as many scheduled gallery tours as you can find the time to attend. The great part about this pass, is that each week comes with a completely new tour.