Best New Gallery District (2008)

The East Village and the Lower East Side

The New Museum is the most visiblebut far from the onlyart space to recently revisit the East Village and the Lower East Side. As Chelsea rents continue to go up (and certain Chelsea artists continue to ossify), a splinter group of galleries is rediscovering the joys of the east side of town. Grizzled anchor tenants ABC No Rio and Henry Street Settlement remain, but its the fresh facesRivington Arms, Reena Spaulings, and James Fuentes, to name a fewthat are truly transforming the area, pulling work out of the sequestered confines of Chelsea and into view of curious passersby. Woman-friendly (Reena Spaulings shows Kim Gordon and Wynne Greenwood, among others), prescient (Rivington Arms was an early sponsor of so-called Bowery School idiot savants Dan Colen and Dash Snow), and interested in whats happening in the citys parallel artistic scenes (James Fuentes showcases Gang Gang Dances Lizzi Bougatsos and Brian Degraw), these galleries offer engaged art with a studied lack of ceremony. Of course, the immutable laws of real-estate development dictate that this idyll wont last for long, so see this stuff before it ends up in Bushwick or Forest Hills.

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