Andy Colquitt and Frank Haines at Lisa Cooley. Installation Shot
This week at ArtReview.com I speak about a couple of the smaller galleries outside Chelsea, and why you might want to check them out. A teaser below.
The reasons innovative galleries often begin in obscure locations are many, but it has less to do with the romantic idea of escaping the system than with the economic practicalities of running a business without a financial backer. Rent is cheaper outside of Chelsea, and successful galleries like Canada and Jen Bekman (both on the Lower East Side), can afford the drop-off in foot traffic in their out-the-way locations in part because they can rely on meeting collectors either at art fairs or online instead. This may offer some explanation to the seemingly endless proliferation of galleries in New York. ArtCal, an exhibition listing service for New York City, reports over 835 galleries in their database, a huge number even when you consider the fact that some of them are no longer in business. There must also be many more new galleries and provisional spaces not yet accounted for. The true number of galleries in New York might be an unknowable Borgesian riddle.
The appeal of these smaller outfits however has remained much the same over the years. A little like discovering Hospital Productions, a music store deep in the East Village requiring patrons to squeeze through a trap door in the floor to view its inventory, finding an unknown gallery outside Chelsea can make you feel as if you’re in on something special. While an exhibition that requires a GPS system to find it might not be that great, the bittersweet allure of these out-of-the-way galleries lies in the fact that for all the crap you’ll see, there are usually one or two galleries doing something you’d never see elsewhere.
To read the full piece click here.