New York has long been recognized as the premiere center for the arts in America and is considered by many to be the commercial center of the art market worldwide as well. Increasingly the hip galleries in the Chelsea neighborhood are becoming a locus of this activity; and so this is where our introductory walk to the art scene in New York takes place.
In the company of our Context docent, a seasoned professional in this area (either an artist, or a critic, and usually both), we will explore the tremendously diverse scene in Chelsea, which is home to a number of blue chip titans like Mary Boone and Matthew Marks as well as to promising younger gallery owners like Zach Feuer and Oliver Kamm. We'll begin by talking about the neighborhood itself, which covers the area from 13th to 29th street and between 7th and 11th avenues. Long the home of industrial commerce, including taxi depots and autobody shops, Chelsea first rose to art world prominence in the late nineties when there was a mass exodus of galleries from city's previous art hotspot, SoHo. Rather than organically arising from the establishment of a homegrown artistic bohemia, the area was colonized by market savvy gallerists interested in its preponderance of large, commercially ready spaces, and thus offers a unique example of a commercially engineered scene. We'll look at the economics behind its rise and the effect of that on the art world in general.
We'll then jump into the art itself, picking our way from gallery to gallery, guided in part by what's currently on show, but mostly by our docent's strong knowledge of the galleries and their strengths (and weaknesses). Our walk will allow for a broad overview of the galleries, including visits to pioneers like Metro Pictures and Paula Cooper, as well as to some galleries in the Chelsea fringe of 11th and 12th street where a string of young dealers have set up exciting programs. The exact course of our walk varies day to day but promises to give a full overview of the New York art world today for neophyte and collector alike.