Visit the Swiss Institute

For residents of EVGB, the arrival of the Swiss Institute’s East Village location offers a unique opportunity to explore the world of cutting-edge contemporary art.

When one thinks of Swiss culture, chocolate, cheese, and luxury watches might come to mind. But there’s a lesser-known Swiss export that has been making waves in New York City’s art scene since 1986 — the Swiss Institute. Born from the vision of a group of Swiss expats with a passion for sharing their country’s creative output, this independent non-profit has become a heavyweight in the world of contemporary art. After occupying various spaces across Manhattan throughout the decades, the Swiss Institute found a permanent home in 2018 in a rather unexpected location — a former bank in the heart of the East Village, skillfully transformed by Selldorf Architects.

The distinctive exterior, featuring cream-colored brick, a black granite base, limestone surrounds, and aluminum spandrels, has been meticulously restored. Inside, visitors will find four levels dedicated to exhibitions, projects, and public programs, along with a library, a bookstore, and a rooftop garden. The building’s open floor plan, made possible by the removal of the bank’s teller stations, private staircase, and vault, creates an inviting and accessible environment for visitors to engage with the art on display.

From May 1 to August 25, the Swiss Institute presents two captivating exhibitions that showcase the work of emerging artists Kobby Adi and Shuang Li. In “Cloisters & Instruments,” Adi explores the spatiotemporal relationships between artwork, viewer, and site through a 16 mm film depicting decaying apples across three different locations and formats. Concurrently, Shuang Li’s “I’m Not” delves into the themes of fandom, identity, and language, drawing from the artist’s personal history as a devoted My Chemical Romance fan. Li’s sculpture and video installations, which include a reimagining of the ambitious architectural models Li saw as a child during the building boom in China during the first decade of this century, offer a thought-provoking examination of these subjects.

The Swiss Institute’s commitment to environmental consciousness takes center stage with “Spora,” a long-term initiative running until May 2025. This innovative project, featuring installations by various artists in the institute’s non-gallery spaces, seamlessly integrates ecological awareness into every facet of the organization. From artworks that incorporate compost and plants to thought-provoking interventions involving wall paint and public spaces, “Spora” encourages visitors to consider the urgent need for climate action and the role that art can play in promoting sustainability.

The Swiss Institute is now home to a new branch of Printed Matter, a bookstore specializing in artists’ books and independently published works. The location stocks a curated selection of books, magazines, rare and historical materials, and artist-made multiples, prints, and posters. In addition to its diverse inventory, the bookstore also serves as a venue for various public events, including book launches, readings, panel discussions, performances, and monthly bookbinding workshops. By hosting these events, Printed Matter at the Swiss Institute aims to celebrate and promote the rich history of avant-garde art and countercultural publications in Lower Manhattan.

The Swiss Institute, now located at St. Marks Place and Second Avenue, joins a distinguished group of cultural institutions in the East Village, including the Anthology Film Archives, Cooper Union, and the New Museum. The Swiss Institute’s presence in the neighborhood further enhances the East Village’s reputation as a hub for artistic exploration and discovery — yet another reason why EVGB, a premier collection of East Village rentals, is proud to call this neighborhood home.

To begin your life in NYC’s East Village at EVGB, contact our leasing team.

Our leasing team is fully equipped and available to accommodate in-person and virtual tours.

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