Visiting art galleries in Chelsea can be an overwhelming experience. There are more than 350 of them that populate 18th-29th streets between 10th and 11th avenues. It can be difficult to figure out where to go and intimidating to enter when you have no intention of making a purchase. To overcome these “fears,” just bite off a little at a time and get a taste of what the neighborhood has to offer. It is a very different experience than seeing art in a museum.
A good way to start is to look at the New York Times, The New Yorker or Timeout Magazine, to check out gallery shows they are reviewing. Pick one or two that interest you and then head to Chelsea. Begin by visiting the gallery you read about, but then meander down whatever block it’s on and go into random galleries that peak your interest.
One I’d recommend going to before June 14th is the Maira Kalman show: Girls Standing on Lawns and Other Subjects at the Julie Saul Gallery on West 22nd Street.
Born in Tel Aviv and raised in Riverdale, Maira has written and illustrated eighteen children’s books; is a frequent contributor to the New Yorker (remember the “Newyorkistan” cover from 2001?); collaborated with Michael Pollan to illustrate his Food Rules; and just published Girls On Lawns, with text by Daniel Handler. I love her vibrant colors and whimsical style.
There are two galleries I like to return to whenever I visit Chelsea. The first is the Jim Kempner Fine Art Gallery on 23rd and 10th Avenue which “specializes in contemporary art in all media, with a special emphasis on contemporary master prints.” There are artists whose work is always on view, like hyper-realist Carole Feuerman.
Then the gallery also has special exhibits, from well-known artists like Wayne Thiebaud (“Cakes and ‘Scapes: A Selection of Rare, Unique and Hand-Colored Prints”), to emerging artists like Craig Norton ( “Nineteen Very Old Drawing and a Coffin”).
Another gallery I like to return to is Taglialatella Galleries on 10th Avenue between 23rd-24th. Their concentraion is on 21st Century contemporary art with a focus on the Pop Movement. A visit there is almost on par with going to the MOMA with exhibitions for artists including, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Hirst, Christo, Frankenthaler, Calder, and Basquiat.
Taglialatella also represents mid-career and emerging artists. One in this category, that I really liked, is Swoon, a street artist who specializes in life-size wheat paste prints and paper cut-outs of human beings.
The great thing about the Chelsea galleries is there is something for everyone — paintings, photography, sculpture and installations. So go check some out, and if it’s a nice day, take a walk on The Highline too.
5th Annual Chelsea Artwalk
Just a note regarding Chelsea Galleries. On Thursday, July 24th from 5pm-8pm you can join a free tour of the Chelsea art galleries. for more information go to: www.chelseaartwalk2014.com