The 54 Galleries to See Right Now in New York

Annette Kelm’s “Proposal for Knots” (2018) is at Andrew Kreps Gallery.

Is the New York art gallery scene thriving or dying? It may be doing both, depending on where you look. Blue-chip galleries are expanding, and a surprising number of international galleries are opening here, too, mostly on the Upper East Side. (Not to mention the prosperous art fairs arriving next week, including Frieze New York, TEFAF and the 1-54 International Contemporary African Art Fair. And they’ll be followed by the big May auctions.)

But many midsize and small galleries are in survival mode, facing rising rents. There have been regrettable closings; this week, for example, that of Real Fine Arts, a pioneering Brooklyn space. Yet other midsize and small galleries persist. And good thing, too: They’re crucial as discoverers of new talent. Art fairs and auctions notwithstanding, they also help develop new collectors, those with independent taste and a sense of risk-taking. Even for occasional visitors, these intimate arenas can open new worlds.

It can seem like the city is breaking out in galleries. There is now a Chinatown gallery district and one in East Chelsea/NoMad may be in the offing. My fellow critics and I have fanned out to take the pulse of the scene, producing one of the best, most evenly distributed gallery roundups in quite a while. — ROBERTA SMITH

Galleries, small and midsize, are having a rough ride. Rents keep climbing. So do art-fair fees. And certain people who might help pay the gallery bills — collectors, big-museum curators — keep not showing up except at a handful of spaces with social cachet and publicity machines. Plus, a sizable portion of the art audience has taken to doing its looking online, raising the question: Why have physical galleries at all?

Because they’re the only places where you truly see new work, experience it. Scale, texture, light, air, mood; all that changes when you’re physically present, shifting positions, moving in close, backing away, hearing noise from the street. Most of the galleries on the Lower East Side are still storefront-size, scaled for shopping, and open on Sundays. They put you in intimate contact with objects, sensations and ideas so you can examine them, stay with them, make them your own. — HOLLAND COTTER

Read our full neighborhood listings for the Lower East Side here.

What to See in Chelsea

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Vincent Tullo for The New York Times

Chelsea may be the New York art neighborhood that many people love to disdain. It also may be approaching a tipping point, where new apartment towers outnumber galleries. But the place is not monolithic. Its scores of galleries come in all shapes, sizes and annual budgets, and as usual they offer a ton of art to be seen. — ROBERTA SMITH

Read our full neighborhood listings for Chelsea here.

These noteworthy gallery shows outside Manhattan are heavily tilted toward the L train axis that runs through Brooklyn and Queens, from Williamsburg to Ridgewood, and toward the young and artist-run spaces that are those boroughs’ specialties. — WILL HEINRICH

Read our full neighborhood listings for Brooklyn and Queens here.

And so the hottest gallery neighborhood in New York is … nowhere in particular! With rents ever higher in Chelsea’s old garages and the Lower East Side’s tenements, nearly a dozen homesteading dealers have moved to a few blocks of terra nullius hemmed in by SoHo, TriBeCa and the Civic Center. Centered on Walker Street, these galleries — a mix of Chelsea refugees, peripatetic veterans of downtown and a few new kids — have imparted fresh energy to one of Lower Manhattan’s last ungentrified zones. — JASON FARAGO

Read our full neighborhood listings for Soho and TriBeCa here.

The Upper East Side — the area called “above East 50th Street” on gallery apps like See Saw and Artforum — is thriving. It’s also experiencing an art-fair effect, with international galleries opening project spaces or satellite galleries in a highly concentrated area: where collectors and curators stay when visiting New York. The galleries that have opened additional spaces on the Upper East Side in recent years include Almine Rech, Boers-Li, Clearing, Galeria Nara Roesler, Galerie Buchholz, Mendes Wood DM and, next month, Kurimanzutto, from Mexico City. — MARTHA SCHWENDENER

Read our full neighborhood listings for the Upper East Side here.

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