New York’s Galleries Are the Greatest Single Machine Ever Invented for Exhibiting Art, by Jerry Saltz
Nan Goldin’s Swan-like Embrace, Paris (2010). (Photo: © Nan Goldin/Courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery)
This is Jerry’s 30th reason why you love NY!
Anyone who relishes art should love the extraordinary diversity and psychic magic of our art galleries. There’s likely more combined square footage for the showing of art on one New York block—West 24th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues—than in all of Amsterdam’s or Hamburg’s galleries. Size, however, is not the source of our greatness. That comes from the incredible mix of ideas and activity combined with the numbers of talented, committed, passionate people involved and intense geographic density. They collectively create a living organism that reflects and produces consciousness. My inner life depends on it all.
I see around 100 shows a month, going from Niketown-size palaces where you feel like yelling to storefronts in Bushwick. Each has to pay the bills; keep artists happy; and cope with collectors (oy!), curators (ay-yi-yi), critics (woo-hoo!), and occasionally plumbers. That their fiscal life often hangs in the balance only adds to the energy.