German expatriate David Zwirner mixes museum-quality shows of historical figures and movements (Dan Flavin; West Coast Minimalism) with a head-turning array of international contemporary artists that includes such luminaries as Yayoi Kusama, Marcel Dzama, Luc Tuymans, Chris Ofili, Neo Rauch and Lisa Yuskavage.
As one of the major art hubs in New York City, even more so than the Upper East Side, the Lower East Side, midtown and Soho, Chelsea's gallery scene certainly takes the top spot as the best.
Since the 1990s, the Chelsea gallery scene has been synonymous with the New York art world, even though numerous other neighborhoods (the Upper East Side, the Lower East Side, Midtown and Soho, as well as parts of Brooklyn and Queens such as Bushwick and Long Island City) play host to NYC’s myriad art galleries.
Even so, Chelsea remains the largest such district with scores of spaces to traipse through—including the flagship outposts of global mega-dealers Larry Gagosian and David Zwirner.
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Occupying roughly 10 blocks straddling 10th and 11th Avenues from 18th to 28th Streets, Chelsea was once home to hundreds of garages and warehouses. This industrial heritage is reflected in gallery interiors that tend to be large and generally free of columns, a combination that encourages extremely ambitious installations like those by the sculptor Richard Serra.
This propensity for enormous art has drawn criticism in recent years, but in any case, Chelsea has seen its star dimmed somewhat thanks to an invasion of starchitect-designed residential buildings, and rising rents that have driven many galleries to other parts of town. Still, if you want to see tons of contemporary art, Chelsea is the one-stop-shopping place to be. To help find your way around, check out our select list of the best Chelsea art galleries.
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