To be successful, an art gallery must include the best of both the old and the new, of the established and the emerging. Galleries are much more than the static spaces they occupy, spaces appropriated for aesthetic show. They are also and always perpetual projects: entities undergoing transformation and renewal. Artists and artworks they display — the creators and their unique creations — are, of course, essential to this process. But so too are those on the other side: the viewer, the potential buyer, the purpose-driven private collector, who together make up a gallery’s clientele.
Myriad galleries dot Manhattan’s West Side between 20th and 28th streets: more than 200 galleries, each with something unique to offer. Chelsea has come a long way in the past two decades. Today, the neighborhood is deservedly synonymous with the boldest and the best in contemporary art.
During these more leisured summer months, the pace of city life relaxes for a brief, revitalizing spell. This is the perfect time, then, to take a moment, a morning, an afternoon, and rediscover Chelsea’s gallery scene — starting, perhaps, with this selection.
ZACH FEUER GALLERY
Established in 2004, Zach Feuer Gallery is known for pushing the boundaries of contemporary art, featuring breakout artists and striking, often risky pieces. These are works of art demanding to be seen. The monthly shows invite, even incite, an emotional response.
This dynamism might be attributed to the founder’s philosophy. Curating, for Zach Feuer, is instinctive and personal, as he explained: “Every month I strive to do a show that I’m excited about. The rest hopefully falls into place.” Instinct likewise plays a role in finding new talent, with Feuer looking for emerging artists he believes in and then helping them achieve their goals. The gallery represents many exciting artists: Tamy Ben-Tor, Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Jon Rafman, Dasha Shihskin … the list goes on. Visitors to the gallery would agree with Feuer; he has indeed “been really lucky to work with some incredibly talented people.”
This summer, Zach Feuer Gallery is set to collaborate with Untitled Gallery on the Lower East Side on a two-gallery show, “Jew York,” a fascinating partial survey of post-war Jewish artists working in and around New York. And in the fall? Art lovers can look forward to Jon Rafman’s first solo New York show.
Zach Feuer Gallery, 548 W. 22nd St., 212.989.7700, email@example.com
Since its founding in 1985, the gallery has maintained an exhibition program of forward-thinking international artists, a catalogue best characterized by its adherence to a rigorous curatorial model. Critical monographic exhibitions, including Marcel Duchamp (1987), Gerhard Richter (1995), and Donald Judd (1999), have served as historical antecedents for the gallery’s contemporary program. The gallery’s ethos is one which allows the artwork to “speak for itself,” explains senior director, Natalia Sacasa. “We do everything we can to foster each artist’s creative instincts.”
Christopher Wool, Larry Clark, and Janine Antoni are among the gallery’s most important artists. Antoni’s “Lick and Lather” (1993) sculptures were recently put on view at the New Museum; Clark has had important retrospective exhibitions in Paris and Berlin; and this fall, the Guggenheim is set to show a retrospective of Wool’s work. Luhring Augustine’s emerging artists are also highly praised and popular with collectors. Sacasa recalls the recent success of Ragnar Kjartansson’s exhibition, “The Visitors,” which brought thousands of people into the gallery. “We extended the exhibition two times to accommodate the demand!” adds Sacasa.
This summer, the gallery will feature William Daniels’ second solo exhibition. Opening June 28, this show will feature nine new oil-on-board paintings: creative meditations on the composition of an arc, the symbol which most embodies grace and lightness and transition.
Luhring Augustine, 531 W. 24th St., 212.206.9100, firstname.lastname@example.org
JULIE SAUL GALLERY
Julie Saul Gallery opened in SoHo in 1986. It has been in its current space in Chelsea since 2000. The gallery features a diverse catalogue of art in every medium, but has from the beginning maintained a particular focus on contemporary photography-based work, including collage and experimental photography. Recently, Julie Saul has been drawn to artists whose style she describes as “very painterly and very studio-based.” Among these are illustrators and cartoonists, often with a literary connection, like Maira Kalman and The New Yorker magazine’s Roz Chast. The gallery also hosts special projects, thematic shows, and occasional historical exhibitions devoted to subjects as unique as the history of the X-ray.
Many of the artists Julie Saul represents have been with the gallery since its founding. Its current catalogue features a vibrant mix of distinguished names; among them: Nikolay Bakharev, Bill Jacobson, Reiner Leist, Didier Massard, and Justine Reyes. Saul explained that the gallery is interested also in showcasing the best of the new; they regularly premier emerging contemporary artists, whose work may soon be hanging on the walls of New York’s most discerning collectors. Saul described her strategy for growing the gallery’s roster of fresh talent. “I am always looking for new artists,” she explained, “at group shows, at thesis exhibitions, and based on recommendations from others in the industry.”
Visitors to the Julie Saul Gallery this summer can look forward to the first American solo show of Siberian photographer Nikolay Bakharev, who is featured in the 2013 Venice Biennale, and spectacular digitally composed work by Carolyn Janssen in the project gallery.
Julie Saul Gallery, 535 W. 22 St., 6th Fl.; 212.627.2410, email@example.com