Where to Go Next?

The fragmentation of Manhattan’s gallery scene

New York belongs to those cities that are in constant motion and subject to reinvention. Things come together as quickly as they fall apart. This of course also applies to the city’s vibrant art and gallery scene, especially in the concrete jungle of Manhattan. In a recent article published by the art newspaper, the scattering of Manhattan’s gallery landscape is analyzed more in depth. It is shown that the scene is momentarily experiencing an extensive change, not only due to the property boom but also due to generation issues and space problems.

Since the mid 1990s the district of Chelsea, which used to be dominated by lots and garages, became a premium address for galleries. Established names such as Paula Cooper, Larry Gagosian or David Zwirner have their spaces here. But others had to leave Chelsea due to rocketing property prices. Especially with the announcement of the construction of the High Line Park in 2006, Chelsea officially became the developers’ dream with rents partly doubling. The question people are wondering about today is where the art caravan will settle down next. Where in Manhattan is still space for a new gallery district to emerge?

Of course there is the Lower East Side, the other premium address for galleries. Over 50 spaces are situated here and are an essential part of the district’s identity. But the dynamics in the Lower East Side speak of a different generation than the one in Chelsea. So, where to go instead? Due to the general lack of space on the island, the trend seems to be that there is none available. Some, like Emmanuel Perrotin or Dominique Lévy have migrated to the Upper East Side, others like Sean Kelly and Magda Sawon have moved their galleries to Hell’s Kitchen and Tribeca. And of course, gallerists, that bought property in Chelsea, such as Larry Gagosian or Barbara Gladstone, will presumably continue their residencies there.

And not to forget: at the other side of the East River there is the increasingly attractive Brooklyn, welcoming Manhattan gallerists with more moderate prices and space. As you can read in our New York Shorty, Luhring Augustine and Kesting Ray have already followed this invitation.

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