Chelsea’s Art Galleries

Trying to avoid crowded places and still having fun is a tough task. So last weekend, I decided to take my boyfriend to a stroll around Chelsea’s art galleries. The west side of the neighborhood is filled with small galleries clustered near each other. They are spread between 19th Street and 24th Street and include some of the most respected names in the NYC art scene.

David Zwirner’s gallery is one of them. It’s located next to Frank Gehry’s IAC building, at the corner between 19th street and 11th Avenue. We went there first because we wanted to see “Light and Space” artist Dough Wheeler’s new masterpiece. The artist used light to turn one of the gallery’s rooms into a synthetic sky. Wheeler designed the installation specifically for Zwirner’s art gallery and it should resemble a blue sky on a clear day. At first sight, one doesn’t understand the complexity of Wheeler’s work. To create it, the artist painted the gallery’s painted on white on its ceiling, walls, and floor. The white latex, epoxy paint, the nylon scrim, and the UV lights make the blue and pink fluorescent tubes’ light pop out. It makes us feel like we are inside a glowing white box that has a sky-like background. Unfortunately, space is filled with visitors that are only worried about taking photos instead of reflecting on the construction of it.

Tired of the crowd’s noise around us, we decided to check Zwirner’s gallery at 20th Street. It’s a more intimate space, beautifully designed by Renzo Piano. The combination of exposed concrete, sliding teak storefront system that allows the base of the building to open for public access ( one of Zwirner’s trademarks) and the 5,000 square-foot column-free exhibition space with 18 foot high ceiling turn this gallery into one of my favorite ones that I’ve visited so far. Even though I was not super excited to see the displayed artwork, I enjoyed a lot visiting the building.

After a short walk, you can also find the Lisson Gallery. Designed by studioMDA and Studio Christian Wassmann, the most impressive about this gallery is the fact that the main exhibition space’s steel columns support the elevated railway of a portion of the High Line. The simplicity of the main facade in exposed white concrete and the lighting above Richard Long’s ” From a Rolling Stone to Now” invited us in. The exhibit space is filled with natural light from the two giant skylights on each side of the gallery and it’s the perfect background for Long’s masterpiece.  The stones against the polished concrete floor set the tone for Long’s amazing photographs on one of the side walls.

Sofia Melo

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