November 23, 2011
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The history of gallery migration in New York is by now well-known, even if its particulars are not. Often it starts with a single artist-friendly building, that becomes the hub for community and neighborhood development. This gets interesting when there are circumstances where the failure of manufacturing is the stimulus for the rise of arts. A case in point; back in 1971, dealers Leo Castelli, Andre Emmerich, Ileana Sonnabend and John Weber opened quarters at 420 West Broadway — a former paper warehouse they bought outright — thus opening Soho to the galleries of 57th Street. Chelsea's early days have a similar history: the manager of 529 West 20th boasted in 1997 that “twenty-two galleries had signed up” to fill former storage space. In Dumbo, it was the long-running art support at St. Ann's Warehouse that propelled the neighborhood to prominence.