Need the names of A- and B-list galleries for impromptu visits to the Lower East Side and Chelsea? I’m here to help with a cheat sheet to my favorite bellwether galleries.
THE A TEAM
set up shop in the Fall of 2008 and immediately began launching strong conceptual exhibitions. Admittedly, I don’t always get all the work on display, but unlike a lot of similarly labeled art, more often than not, it’s challenging as opposed to bad. Zach Feuer Gallery
in Chelsea works with emerging to mid-career artists, and his stable is remarkably strong (and trim; he’s dropped a few artists recently). Dana Schutz will exhibit her new paintings just after the New York art fairs close, which should garner a fair amount of attention even if virtually every art critic in the city has already reviewed her work.
undoubtedly takes the most risks of any gallery I visit, consistently carving out a market for artists who make unconventional work. The only space approaching this kind programming came from Guild and Greyshkul
(RIP), so their closing last month represents a huge loss to the community.
Unlike these two galleries, Lower East Side based Lisa Cooley
did not come into the field through art-making, though I’ve not been disappointed by her shows. She’s particularly strong in the medium of sculpture, in the same way Elizabeth Dee Gallery
and Greene Naftalii
are known for their work with innovative sound and film artists. On that note, Gavin Brown Enterprises
does particularly well in the field of painting, at least recently. The gallery represents Elizabeth Peyton, whose show just came down at the New Museum, and it currently hosts Peter Doig’s new paintings, one of the most positively reviewed exhibitions in the last few months.
THE B TEAM
Only slight differences exist between the A Team and the B Team. For example, gallery giant David Zwirner
could easily get bumped up for adeptly keeping the business of art at arms length from his outstanding exhibitions. Occasionally though, the dealer slips, and turns the space into a cold corporate art headquarters. Blue chip mainstay Marianne Boesky
similarly presents strong albeit sporadically conservative shows. Like Boesky, Winkleman Gallery
focuses on a number of artists pairing a conceptually based studio practice with a formalist approach to art-making. While astonishingly consistent, I’ve also never seen an exhibition at the gallery I thought the best in Chelsea that month.
Postmasters, The Kitchen, Team Gallery
, and Deitch Projects
, have all presented homerun multimedia shows this year, only slightly less consistent than the galleries mentioned in the top flight. Arguably, Yossi Milo
, a dealer renowned for his impeccable taste in photography and great stable of artists may belong on the first team. But like Nicole Klagsbrun, D’Amelio Terras
, and CRG Gallery
, who also consistently put together strong shows, the difference may simply be a matter of taste. Either way, viewers aren’t likely to be disappointed visiting any of these galleries.