Chelsea Museums and Galleries
Duke of York's HQ, King's Rd., Chelsea
Charles Saatchi's gallery is famous for championing artists before the rest of the art world catches on. Legendary for his early support of Damien Hirst and the rest of the YBAs (that's Young British Artists, for the uninitiated), Saatchi's roster is still one of the most forward-thinking in contemporary art. The excellent on-site Gallery Mess Cafe and its daily afternoon tea service (there's a boozy version that involves a jug of Pimm's and an option for kids, too) deserve mention.
The Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort, Meatpacking Disrict
The Whitney—a long-time doyenne on the UES—shut its doors and moved to the Meatpacking District, where it sits in a Renzo Piano–designed building at the southern end of the Highline. The Whitney decamped because of space constrictions uptown, a situation that's now eased by its 200,000 square feet. (The Metropolitan Museum of Art has taken over the Whitney's previous Marcel Breuer–designed home at Madison and 75th.) Bonus: It's open until 10 p.m. on the weekends.
Matthew Marks Gallery
523 W. 24th St., Chelsea
With a stable of some of our favorite contemporary artists and photographers—Luigi Ghiri, Nan Goldin and Terry Winters—gallerist Matthew Marks has made a name for himself for his offbeat, yet totally on-point exhibitions. There are three outposts in Chelsea.
531 W. 24th St., Chelsea
Founded in 1985 by co-owners Lawrence R. Luhring and Roland J. Augustine, this Chelsea gallery focuses on representing an international group of contemporary painters, sculptors, photographers, and multimedia artists. The roster is a roll-call for some of the world's most celebrated artists from Larry Clark to Joel Sternfeld, Pipilotti Rist, Janine Antoni, and more. There's also a location in Bushwick for larger scale projects.
555 W. 24th St., Chelsea
The jewel of Larry Gagosian's gallery empire is a gargantuan, museum-standard center in Chelsea: The space alone is worth a visit for its sheer monumentality. And fittingly, the stable of artists displayed there consists of the art world's heavyweights from Ed Ruscha, to Taryn Simon and Jeff Koons. There are multiple outposts in the city (including a second location on 21st street) along with galleries around the world.
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