The Chelsea art and tech landscape is changing. Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology is moving out of their current location in Chelsea at the end of June. They’re moving to their new 34-35th Street location in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood (Industry City), this September. This coincides with the digital art centric gallery, Bitforms‘ departure from Chelsea to the Lower East Side, slated for this July and follows the departure Postmasters Gallery last year. This digital art friendly gallery and longtime Chelsea resident, left last year after their rent was raised to $30,000 a month. They are now in TriBeCa.
Together, that’s three of the four largest new media friendly galleries in Chelsea, now departed. Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, the remaining digital art centric gallery in Chelsea is likely to stay put. They have is little chance of a rent hike, though, as Wolkowitz owns his building.
When asked if the departure of these galleries would affect his business in anyway, Wolkowitz said no. “It doesn’t impact what we do at all. Our program is diversified. We’re not primarily electronics or digital art based like Bitforms.” Wolkowitz, did acknowledge that the program showed a “hearty selection” of new media artists, but dismissed the idea that more galleries with a focus on digital art in the neighborhood would bring out collectors with that interest. “It’s so much more broad than it was 10 years ago.” He said, saying that collectors who buy paintings and sculptures also buy video and new media art.
Over at Eyebeam, there was a general sense of excitement over at Eyebeam for their move to Industry City, which will include 7000 square feet of new space for their residency program. “We’re really excited” Program Director Roddy Schrock told me over the phone. “The only difference is that we’ll be limited to educational programs/workshops at the transitional space but will be partnering with other orgs for public presentation” he continued over email. In other words, they’ll lose the exhibition space until their shared 27,000 square feet space in the BAM Cultural District in downtown Brooklyn is ready in two and half years, but will find other homes to launch exhibitions.