Your Ultimate Guide to New York Gallery Crawls
This one's for the first-timers on the circuit.
In the year 2016, where selfies prevail and the consumption of art is increasingly mediated by iPhones, gallery hopping in historic Chelsea is as much a source of casual amusement as it is a serious tradition. But for earnest first-timers hoping to connect with the neighborhood’s offerings, the sheer number of shows to see, paired with the anxieties of art world exclusivity, can prove daunting.
To lend a helping hand, artnet News has rounded up a list of advice for newcomers planning on hitting the circuit this gallery season. Our first tip: Dress for comfort.
1. Roll with a partner (or two).
Pro tip: Keep your party small. It helps maintain an agreeable moving pace.
2. Map your route.
As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you can plan to fail. While this may not necessarily ring true for the more spontaneous spirits, it’s worth remembering that galleries do, in fact, close. Identify the shows you’re burning to see—the rest will take care of itself.
3. Expect celebrity sightings.
Last year, the artnet News team caught Leonardo DicCaprio at Mike Kelley‘s show at Hauser & Wirth. This time around, we encountered Swizz Beatz at Rashid Johnson‘s presentation, right on the heels of his No Commission Art Fair. Our point? Get used to seeing celebrities and keep your cool. Don’t act star-struck.
4. Touch the art—when you can.
It isn’t everyday that galleries invite guests to touch the art, but when they do, commit to the experience. Over at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, for instance, artist collective Slavs and Tatars presented two interactive installations: a swing to frolick on upstairs, and a bacteria bar on the ground floor serving cups of (potable) yoghurt.
5. Forego the lines.
Word was abuzz that a line had formed for Matthew Barney‘s “Facility of DECLINE” at Barbara Gladstone Gallery. Another throng of gallery-goers lingered outside Galerie Lelong, where Sarah Cain’s latest show of abstract painting, “Dark Matter,” is on view. Our advice? Hold off and revisit these popular shows on any given weekday.
6. Talk to the crowd.
Any number of writers, curators, and artists, among other art world denizens, hit the town on opening night. It’s a definitive perk to join the mix, so build up some courage and engage the folks around you. Who knows who you’ll meet?
7. Take breaks.
Fatigue is inevitable on the circuit, so pace yourself.
8. Keep notes.
Stumbling upon work that really resonates is a gratifying—and universal—feeling. Whatever your reasons for scoping the art may be, it helps to keep track of the artists (and the galleries that represent them), if only for your own records.
9. Look at the art.
This is, after all, why you’re out on the town, so before you snap a photo for Instagram, take a moment to really look at the work in front of you. We promise: Art is best consumed off the screen.
10. Skip it altogether.
There’s always Sunday.
Follow artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.