The Internet? Death-Star Condos?
During a stroll in Chelsea during the start of the Fall art season, the question was, “Where’s the art?” (Well, I did almost immediately see the art critic, the ubiquitous Jerry Saltz was out and about, which made me feel like all was right in the world).
Are mid-range “minor leagues” of the art market decimated as big names expand, taking over spaces that were once developing grounds for artists not quite ready for prime time?
This is not intended to be a curmudgeonly rant about how things have changed. In fact, many things were the same. Larry “Go-Go” Gagosian was at the helm, standing at the entrance to a wonderful Mary Weatherford show, which was humming; Matthew Marks had a few openings of great work going on at two different locations just two blocks away (see the Anne Truitt pieces). But other than that, things seemed slightly subdued.
Yes, I know this is not new. In fact, it’s been happening for years. I remember right after Hurricane Sandy walking through Chelsea, and noticed many of the ground floor galleries, being especially susceptible to flooding, had closed temporarily. They did indeed reopen, yet it seemed a premonition of permanent closures or retrenchment to come a few years down the road. And did they. Many of the buildings housing galleries simply don’t exist anymore, and most of the galleries housed in them just closed. Again, this too is not new, since the building metamorphosis has spanned five years or more.
Perhaps four factors are at play to have lead to the decline of mid-level galleries: Chelsea is the epicenter of the lux housing boom, pushing out galleries; the interwebs has taken over some mid-level work or is a fine place to sell known commodities such as editions; bigger galleries keep getting bigger, with many New York galleries with spaces just blocks apart; and international behemoths have claimed their place. Maybe a fifth is starting to make a presence–do we really need galleries, especially for younger collectors?
A look at Chelsea art openings should not be a real-estate market report, yet it seems somewhat inevitable in these times.
Where are galleries going in New York? The Bronx could be next–or is it too late for The City. Berlin?
Thankfully, Pope.L is there at Mitchell-Innes & Nash.
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