The neighborhood of Chelsea—roughly running from 14th St. to 30th St. between Seventh Ave and the Hudson River—has a rich history in the art world.
It started as far back as 1884, when the iconic Hotel Chelsea opened on 23rd St. and became a haven for the NYC art and music scene (Andy Warhol even made a film there!).
And today, it still holds that same cultural significance, with the addition of the elevated High Line Park with its outdoor exhibitions, and of course, the many art galleries—which are all free to visit. So here’s a guide for your next budget-friendly, high-culture outing:
1. Gagosian Gallery
Larry Gagosian is a renowned art gallery owner who started off in Los Angeles in 1980 and has since expanded to New York (his second oldest gallery), Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Paris, Geneva, Basel, Rome, Athens and Hong Kong. It’s a bit high-end, but arguably one of the most best galleries in all of the city, closer to a museum in and of itself.
Where: 555 W 24th St.
Hours: Monday–Saturday, 10am–6pm
2. David Zwirner Gallery
The David Zwirner Gallery is well-known for its Instagram-friendly gallery exhibitions like Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Room (and the long lines it takes to experience them). But if you try it off-season, you can enjoy other amazing contemporary art exhibits without the crowds. Currently, there is an immersive light exhibit by Doug Wheeler (pictured above) as well as one by Swedish painter Mamma Andersson opening March 4.
Where: 525 W 19th St.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-6pm
3. High Line Nine
This gallery only takes up one number on the list, but is pretty much like nine galleries in one! The hybrid gallery, exhibition and event space is underneath the historic High Line park and connects nine different galleries flowing from one to the other within the space. They also have a lovely on-site Italian cafe with coffee, paninis, pastas, gelato, freshly made pastries, and wine in the evening.
Where: 507 West 27th St.
Hours: Tue-Sat 10am-6pm (Cafe, Daily 7am-9:30pm)
4. Agora Gallery
Agora Gallery was founded by an artist in 1984 in hopes of promoting all different kinds of work by artists from all over the world in the competitive New York market. Exhibits typically change up monthly, and the next one opening March 5 features works by a variety of different artists, called “Solitude, Introspection, & Surrealism.”
Where: 530 West 25th St.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11am–6pm
5. Wilensky Exquisite Mineral Gallery
This is nature’s art gallery! A hidden gem (literally), the Wilnesky Mineral Gallery displays the Earth’s most beautiful minerals as art sculptures. Right now you can catch stunning topaz, quartz, aquamarine, and flurote.
Where: 173 10th Ave
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11am-6pm
6. C24 Gallery
C24 Gallery (it’s in Chelsea on 24th St., so we can guess where the name comes from) opened in 2011 and serves as a contemporary international art gallery. The past few years they have been on a mission to include more underrepresented artists and to better reflect political and social issues in the works they choose to display. It’s multi-leveled and has lots of natural light thanks to a giant skylight.
Where: 560 W 24th St.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-6pm
7. 303 Gallery
303 is one of the oldest galleries in Chelsea, harkening back to 1984 (though in later years it did move to the East Village to SoHo and then eventually back to Chelsea). Though on the smaller side, it has many interesting mixed media exhibits.
Where: 303 Park Avenue South
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am – 6pm
8. Lisson Gallery
The Lisson Gallery opened in 2016 and boasts 4,500 square feet of gallery space (along with another 4,000 square feet of offices, viewing spaces and storage). It’s under the High Line, connecting 23rd and 24th St. The next exhibit comes from travel artist Richard Long whose photograph “A Rolling Stone” depicts the “bounce marks of a boulder rolled down a snow slope covered in volcanic ash” in the Three Sisters Wilderness part of Oregon state.
Where: 504 West 24th St.
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-6pm
9. Tanya Bonaker Gallery
This gallery offers many more sculptural and installation pieces, perfect if you like art you can interact with. The current ongoing exhibit displays Kelly Akashi’s nature-inspired work on both floors with pieces like a bronze sphere fountain and hand-blown glass branches.
Where: 521 W 21st St.
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10am—6pm
10. Petzel Gallery
The Petzel Gallery just opened another sister museum on the Upper East Side, and features internationally renowned artists like Yael Bartana, Walead Beshty, Cosima von Bonin, Troy Brauntuch and many more.
Where: 456 W 18th St.
Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 10am–6pm; Saturday 9am-5pm
featured image source: DavidZwirner.com