(Photo courtesy Sargent's Daughters)

(Photo courtesy Sargent’s Daughters)

The Area exhibit isn’t the only exciting thing happening in the downtown art world: last night Sargent’s Daughters, a gallery named after painter John Singer Sargent, opened at 179 East Broadway.

The gallery’s first show, “Painting 101,” features (you guessed it) paintings by Francesca DiMattio, Dennis Hollingsworth, Jonathan Lasker, Sandi Slone and Daniel Rios Rodríguez.

The space, which used to be the Allegra LaViola gallery, got its new name when LaViola teamed up with Meredith Rosen, formerly of the BravinLee gallery. The new iteration aims to focus on “contemporary art that has a strong historical lineage while challenging current aesthetic conventions,” according to its website.

“Sargent produced ‘traditional’ art,” LaViola explained. “But he brought something new to the table.”

On the phone today, LaViola took a slight shot at Chelsea. “The Lower East Side is like the new gallery district,” she said. “It has really come into its own. Whereas Chelsea is much more crowded and institutional, the LES is gritty. And, obviously, the area has a lineage of art. But although a lot of the art in the LES is conceptual, it is not very accessible. For example, you walk into a room and there’s a 40-page thesis on the table and a paper clip on the floor. We are doing more concrete, accessible art, with a different spin on the traditional.”

“Painting 101” runs through Dec. 7.