Gallery Movement in NYC

The Wall Street Journal has an article about the movement of art Galleries away from Chelsea ti tge Upper East Side. The rents are more attractive to gallery owners and vibe, according to many is much younger and fashionable.

The article notes the New York City contemporary art gallery scene changes each generation,  with the center in the 1980s being the East Village, in the 1990s they moved to SoHo, from there to Chelsea.

The WSJ reports on NYC gallery movment
When Robert Blumenthal decided to open his first gallery, he didn't consider Chelsea, where most of his local contemporary-art peers operate.

He thought about the Lower East Side, where several younger art dealers have found lower rents, but in February, he opted for a third-floor location with distinctly un-Chelsea crown molding at 1045 Madison Ave., near 79th Street.

"The Upper East Side is so unhip, it's hip," said Mr. Blumenthal, 33 years old. "Chelsea is a generation before me."

With every generation, New York's contemporary-art dealers seem to pick up stakes. In the 1980s, gallery owners discovered the East Village. In the 1990s, they resettled in SoHo.

When it became more fashionable than affordable, SoHo fell to Chelsea. That area, between 18th and 29th streets west of 10th Avenue, was once better known for auto-body repair than contemporary art.

The Upper East Side has long been known as the place to buy Old Masters paintings and lithographs. But a handful of young upstarts and older dealers representing edgy, emerging artists is now moving in, citing the increasing costs of downtown locations and the benefits—proximity to well-heeled collectors, an easier time standing out as a contemporary space, a lack of "white box" architecture—of uptown life.

"Chelsea got too expensive, so people moved to the Lower East Side, and now the Lower East Side is getting expensive," Mr. Blumenthal said. "A lot of the energy is moving to the Upper East Side."

When Jack Tilton moved to an elegant townhouse at 8 E. 76th St. a decade ago, the neighborhood scene seemed staid. "There was an expression in those days: The only good artists on the Upper East Side are dead artists," he said.

It has changed, he added, thanks to "a serious group of interesting people up here," including gallery operators Adam Lindemann, Joe Nahmad and Craig Starr, as well as real estate that he finds more appealing.

In Chelsea, the typical gallery is "a big white box with the mouse-hole entrance," Mr. Tilton said. "The Upper East Side is taking over because it's warmer."

Bill Powers, who in January 2013 moved Half Gallery to 43 E. 78th St. from the Lower East Side, was similarly drawn to the neighborhood's architecture. Half Gallery now operates in a quirky atelier upstairs from a boutique run by his wife, fashion designer Cynthia Rowley.

With more than 300 galleries in Chelsea, "I think it has become an institution with a pretty crowded field," Mr. Powers said. "My rent quadrupled, but so did my business."

"The Lower East Side is not next to the Met," Mr. Blumenthal said. "The most serious collectors are on the Upper East Side."

Some Chelsea-based galleries are feeling restless as well. Zach Feuer has been based for 15 years at 548 West 22nd St. but said he is ready for a change of scene.

"Frankly, it's become kind of boring," he said. "I walk down the street, and it feels like a row of spectacles."
Source: The Wall Street Journal

No comments: