Chelsea itself may be the most interesting show in Chelsea. The neighborhood is undergoing a radical transformation. Traditionally, New York artists, dealers, and collectors like to keep some grit around so that they may retain an illusion, at least, of bohemian toughness, and Chelsea offers exactly the right cocktail. A greasy taxi garage nicely sets off the art-world jewels. In 2005, the decision to turn a piece of true grit—the rusty and serpentine High Line railway—into a floating garden subtly but profoundly changed the mix. And this fall, the most fashionable architect in the world, Frank Gehry, will open a glamorous $100 million building that faces the dingy West Side Highway.
Chelsea already teems with chic restaurants and boutiques, and architects besides Gehry are hard at work here; Jean Nouvel and Robert A.M. Stern are creating hundreds of condos for the very wealthy. This kind of New York makeover is often thrilling. The city should become more daring visually, and the new Chelsea will help in that regard. Gehry’s building, his first in New York, evokes windblown sails. (Its “masts” seem to bend in the wind, challenging New York’s strict verticality.) The High Line park is already beloved, and it hasn’t even been built.
The Gehry building will be the headquarters of Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp, a symbol of hot money chasing new media. It opens at a time when the art world itself is stylish and booming. This fall, about 200 galleries will present art to an eager audience. Life, in many ways, has never been better for Chelsea: a browse among the galleries on a fall Saturday is becoming a favorite New York pastime. But those in the art world sometimes sense a tremor in the air, like distant thunder at a picnic. Perhaps the city should landmark those gritty garages. Remember art in Soho? Next: The Chelsea Fall Art Exhibit Map
At Paul Kasmin 511 W. 27th St. Black-and-white prints of the Studio 54 crowd—and, of course, Galella’s most famous subject, Jackie O. 9/6–10/7.
At Nicole Klagsbrun 526 W. 26th St. Two seemingly unrelated series: paintings incorporating blobs of chewing gum, plus a photographic project exploring LeFrak City, in the second solo here by this artist known for his fake obituaries of celebrities. 9/7–10/14.
3. Brian Calvin/Jim Lambie
At Anton Kern 532 W. 20th St.
Faux-naïve portraits of androgynous slackers by L.A. painter Calvin, plus sculptures of birds by Lambie, the Glaswegian punk-pop artist known for his groovy striped floor pieces. 9/7–10/14.
4. Jesper Just
At Perry Rubenstein 527 W. 23rd St.
The world premiere of his new, noirish film trilogy, It Will All End in Tears, set in classic New York spaces and featuring the “music” of the Finnish Screaming Men’s Choir. 9/8–10/28.
5. Seth Price
At Friedrich Petzel 535 W. 22nd St.
Part of a triple-solo (with work at Reena Spaulings and Electronic Arts Intermix) by this ambitious newcomer, about how commercial video makes the rounds in the age of YouTube. 9/8–9/30.
6. Dario Robleto/Sara VanDerBeek
At D’Amelio Terras 525 W. 22nd St.
Robleto’s petite sculptures are inspired by war artifacts, with cinema-inspired photo-assemblages by VanDerBeek, the gallerist behind Soho’s Guild & Greyshkul. 9/8–10/21 (Robleto); 9/8–10/14 (VanDerBeek).
7. Jason Middlebrook
At Sara Meltzer 525-531 W. 26th St., fourth fl.
Environmentally minded sculptures and works on paper, incorporating news photos of New Orleans. 9/8–10/7.
8. Jessica Stockholder
At Mitchell-Innes & Nash 534 W. 26th St.
New work at the artist’s new gallery, in a familiar format: colorful sculptures that use household objects to convey the language of formal abstract painting. 9/9–10/14.
9. Karen Kilimnik
At 303 Gallery 525 W. 22nd St.
Architectural installations, including a Napoleonic campaign tent and other works presenting romanticized views of history. 9/16–11/4.
10. Catherine Opie
At Gladstone Gallery 515 W. 24th St.
“American Cities,” stark black-and-white photographs of five urban areas, from L.A. mini-malls to Wall Street—a departure for an artist known for her portraits of surfers and other subcultures. 9/9–10/14.
11. Barnaby Furnas
At Marianne Boesky 509 W. 24th St.
The first show at the gallery’s sleek new space next to the High Line goes to this much-in-demand young painter whose semi-abstract canvases depict scenes of exaggerated violence. 9/16–10/21.
12. Joseph Kosuth
At Sean Kelly 528 W. 29th St.
The veteran Conceptual artist quotes from his early wall texts in a giant labyrinth of an installation. 9/19–10/28.
13. Matthew Ritchie
At Andrea Rosen 525 W. 24th St.
“The Universal Adversary,” a major installation inaugurating the gallery’s redesigned space with a latticework structure in the shape of a folded sky, representing a parallel universe. 9/21–10/28.
14. Keegan McHargue
At Metro Pictures 519 24th St.
Patterned paintings and works on paper by this San Francisco artist, combining abstract and figurative elements in a folksy style9/21–10/28.
15. Fred Tomaselli
At James Cohan 533 W. 26th St.
Trippy portraits and other photo-collage paintings by the artist famous for encasing pills in layers of resin. 10/6–11/11.
16. Michaela Meise
Greene Naftali 508 W. 26th St., eighth fl.
The renovated gallery has expanded into its back room; this sculptor breaks in the space with installations and reliefs that merge social and design history. 10/7–11/4.
17. Lisa Yuskavage
At David Zwirner 525 W. 19th St.
The painter of exaggerated, porny female figures has her first New York show since defecting from Marianne Boesky to the fast-expanding Zwirner empire. 10/18–11/18.
18. Tierney Gearon
At Yossi Milo 525 W. 25th St.
“The Mother Project,” a semi-autobiographical series exploring the photographer’s relationship to her mom and her own fears about motherhood. 10/19–11/25.
19. Laurel Nakadate
At Danziger Projects 521 W. 26th
St. For her second solo at the gallery, this young artist known for her cynical videos (in which she teases strange middle-aged men in hotel rooms) expands into installation work. 10/20–11/25.
20. Christian Jankowski
At the Kitchen 512 W. 19th St.
His first show here since a popular solo at Maccarone in 2004; this one has photographs, video, and sculpture about horror movies. 10/21–12/9.
21. Tim Eitel
At PaceWildenstein 534 W. 25th St.
New, semi-figurative paintings with dramatic light, by a German artist associated with the still-hot Leipzig school. 11/17–1/20. Next: Ecotopia at ICP