Art Exodus Sees Upper East Side Galleries Flee to Chelsea
By Amy Zimmer
DNAinfo News Editor
MANHATTAN — The DC Moore Gallery left its East 57th Street location of 15 years to open a new space in Chelsea last week.
Its move reflects a recent exodus of galleries fleeing the rarefied confines of the Upper East Side for hipper pastures in Chelsea, according to City Arts.
A major reason for moving further downtown is rent — Upper East Side landlords are asking for roughly $96 per square foot for an upper floor gallery space, while Chelsea landlords are seeking $39 per square foot.
DC Moore, which represents such artists as Romare Bearden, Jacob Larwrence and Robert De Niro Sr., was drawn to the building owned by the Dia Foundation at 523 W. 22nd Street because of its bigger spacet that's more flexible for showing larger-scale contemporary work.
"The freight elevator [on 57th Street] was basically a passenger elevator," the gallery's president Bridget Moore told DNAinfo.
They are paying roughly equivalent of what they paid further uptown but now have 6,800 square feet versus 5,200, Moore said.
Being in the hub of the city's arts district also helps. "I've had some collectors and curators say, 'This is so fabulous. Thank you," she said. "It's difficult when they come in for a few days and have to go uptown and downtown."
The once-flousishing galleries along 57th Street have been in flux, Moore noted. The landlord of the Fuller Building at 57th Street and Madison Avenue,a flagship for art spaces, made a concerted effort a few years back to focus on more commerical tenants, like Coach, than on galleries. But, she added, the Crown building on Fifth Avenue is will soon be home to the Hirschl & Adler Gallery, which is moving down from East 70th Street.
Some of the Upper East Side's more established galleries, including Pace, Gagosian and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, simply opened up Chelsea spots while keeping uptown spaces.
"Chelsea has a much, much larger attendance. It's really the art capital of the world," Jay Gorney, director of contemporary art at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, told City Arts.
"The Upper East Side has a smaller attendance, but I sometimes think the buyers are more serious."