With the always-crowded Whitney Museum on its southern border and hectic Midtown to the north, Chelsea is a relatively peaceful haven for New York’s art scene on the West Side. More than 200 galleries call it home, so the neighborhood can be a daunting destination for visitors. Where to begin? Here are our favorite Chelsea art galleries to check out this summer.
Founded in the late ’70s, Mary Boone Gallery helped artist Julian Schnabel achieve celebrity fame in the ’80s. (Schnabel would later go on to earn four Oscar nominations for his 2007 film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.) It also represented iconic artists like Jean Michel Basquiat, Eric Fischl and Barbara Kruger. This summer, see the Life of Forms group exhibit, curated by Piper Marshall and featuring work by Amy Sillman, who contributed a sequence of eighteen drawings.
Mary Boone Gallery: 51 W. 24th St., 212-752-2929
First founded in Washington, D.C., Jack Shainman Gallery has been in Chelsea since 1997. From the beginning, it has focused on international artists—especially those from Africa and Asia. This summer’s timely timely exhibit, For Freedoms, is the “first artist-run super PAC,” aimed at inspiring viewers to be more engaged with this year’s presidential election.
Jack Shainman Gallery: 513 W. 20th St., 212-645-1701
David Zwirner Gallery represents the Judd Foundation, which preserves the living and working spaces, libraries and archives of American artist Donald Judd in New York’s SoHo and Marfa, Texas. In recent years, the gallery has strengthened its focus on works by other minimalist artists like Judd. The summer exhibit, People Who Work Here, showcases works by almost 40 artists, from paintings to photographs and from sculptures to installations.
David Zwirner Gallery: 525 W. 19th St., 212-727-2070
While not a traditional art gallery, this popular green space atop a former elevated railway line is one of Chelsea’s best places to see outdoor art exhibits in Chelsea. Kathryn Andrews’s risqué “Sunbathers I” is making tourists do a double take, while Barbara Kruger’s “Untitled (Blind Idealism Is…)” presents high brow cultural criticism for those seeking a relaxing afternoon in the park.