Best New Gallery District - 2008
The East Village and the Lower East Side
The New Museum is the most visible?but far from the only?art 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 it?s the fresh faces?Rivington Arms, Reena Spaulings, and James Fuentes, to name a few?that 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 what?s happening in the city?s parallel artistic scenes (James Fuentes showcases Gang Gang Dance?s 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 won?t last for long, so see this stuff before it ends up in Bushwick or Forest Hills.