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Art lovers in New York City can embark on one of the most exciting adventures of their lives by exploring the myriad galleries in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood (between 14th and 34th Streets west of Sixth Avenue). Though the occasional old master shows up in Chelsea, here you’ll find thousands of challenging, progressive and political works in multiple formats by the most famous contemporary artists and rising stars.
Founded in 1980, Metro Pictures included in its inaugural exhibition the work of Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo, Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince, Jack Goldstein and James Welling. It then proceeded to give those artists their first major one-person shows. Metro was one of the galleries that spearheaded the northern migration of Manhattan’s art scene when it moved from SoHo to Chelsea in 1995. Accenting adventurous conceptual work, Metro currently has on its books – as well as Sherman, Longo and others – Andy Hope 1930, Nina Beier, Camille Henrot, Sara VanDerBeek, Tris Vonna-Michell and B Wurtz.
Having spent its first decade in SoHo, Marianne Boesky Gallery moved to Chelsea in 2006, when it began representing such emergent artists as Anthony Pearson, Diana Al-Hadid, Jay Heikes and William J O’Brien. In 2014, Frank Stella – master painter and sculptor of geometric shapes – joined Boesky’s increasingly prestigious fold, which also includes Jennifer Bartlett, Barnaby Furnas, Maria Lai, Dashiell Manley and the environmentally minded Haas Brothers. To complement its adjacent spaces in Chelsea, the gallery opened Boesky West in Aspen, Colorado, in March 2017.
Lehmann Maupin, which opened its doors in SoHo in 1996, moved to its Rem Koolhaas-designed gallery on West 22nd Street in September 2002. Exactly 16 years later, the company added a new flagship space in Chelsea – this one designed by Peter Marino – on West 24th Street; it also operates galleries in Seoul and Hong Kong. Dedicated to “personal investigations and individual narratives,” Lehmann Maupin has given first-time New York exhibitions to artists from Europe (among them Tracey Emin and Juergen Teller), Asia, East Africa and the Middle East. Its line-up includes Liza Lou (whose work opened the 24th Street gallery), Lee Bul, Wangechi Mutu, Adriana Varejão, Catherine Opie, David Salle, Gilbert & George, Jennifer Steinkamp and Ashley Bickerton.
Jeanine Guzman contributed additional reporting to this article.