I don’t know if it’s fair to say that the Lower East Side Galleries experienced a coming of age moment last night, but certainly the opening crowds were a visual affirmation of their established presence. I wasn’t able to get a shot of the full street without the image turning into black, but Orchard was packed with young artists, curators and dealers, back in town for the start of the season. As one friend astutely noticed, middle-age women’s clothing didn’t rear its head in any gallery but Lesley Heller. No idea why that might be, given that half the space was filled by feminist art made by Hunter students. I guess Loren Munk’s crowd dominated the kids in this space — in the front room, Monk was exhibiting his frantic paintings cataloguing New York spaces and artists.
Galleries numbers on Orchard street alone have more than doubled this year, which explains the general celebratory tone of last night’s crowds. Also, as Andrew Russeth noted yesterday in the New York Observer, the art world is doing pretty well these days. Hurray for the shrinking middle class?
Probably my favorite sentiment of the night came from ArtINFO’s Andrew Goldstein, who described the artists in this neighborhood as garnering a sort of stardom equivalent to indie rock stars. It’s a sexy scene. And as for the quality of art? Who knows. That’s a question that gets addressed once the crowds clear.