Gallery hopping in Chelsea, NYC

Apart from the few times a year when I go back to London, I usually spend quite a long time without going to an art gallery. Lisbon has a few nice spots but I guess I’m often a little too lazy to go and check them out. That’s my own fault, of course. So when I arrived over here I spoke to a few people and quickly found out that for everything cutting edge and modern in the art world, Chelsea is the place to go. So I went.

Now, I wasn’t aware of just how many galleries I was going to visit. There are literally more than 200 gallery spaces in Chelsea! I actually counted 218 names in the Gallery Guide, but there are probably more. I must have visited, I don’t know, 15 galleries? 20 at most? I was so exhausted/exhilarated in the end that I decided to give it a rest and come back again some other time. My mum is coming to visit me at some point so I’ll take her there. It’ll give me an excuse to go back (not that I need any).

Here are a few pieces that caught my eye:

♥ Real sized sculptures made of magazine pages by Will Kurtz

 This one was my favorite piece in the show. Stunning work.

♥ Very cool black and white paintings. Artist: can’t remember, for the life of me.

♥ Loved this series of photographs of the back of birds’ heads.

Artist: can’t remember either (note to self: start writing these things down otherwise blog post is gonna suck).

♥ Portraits by Shirin Neshat – This was by far the most popular show I saw. It was crammed with people.

There was a rumor going around that the photographer was going to show up later that day, but I didn’t hang around to find out. There was something else I wanted to check out:

♥ The spot collection by Damien Hirst

I love this collection for two reasons:

1) Because it’s Damien Hirst. He went to Goldsmiths College, the same art school I went to, and I have loved him since my early teenage years in London, when I saw his work in the Sensations Exhibition. He can do no wrong in my eyes. I’m his groupie.

2) There is something really cool going on involving this particular collection. It’s called the Damien Hirst Spot Challenge. It goes like this: whoever manages to see the complete series of spot paintings (we’re talking 1986-2011. That’s a lot of paintings!) wins one of the pieces. You have this card and you get a stamp for every spot show you go to (very much like a supermarket discount/point card, really). There are 11 exhibitions in total, all over the world. I actually met a girl who is doing the challenge with her boyfriend. They just came back from Hong Kong and were on their way to Europe, for the remaining shows. Fun stuff.

I would definitely do this if there was any way I could be certain that I was going to get one of the big paintings. I would be extremely pissed off if all I got was a little postcard with a dot on it, but hey, that’s just me being heartless and insensitive.

 Yay! Lower East Side babe, out on the town. :0) – That’s me, photographed by Dom, my friend from London who’s over here too.

That’s it from Chelsea so far. Highly recommended. Make sure you get there nice and early and be prepared to spend the whole day on your feet, walking from one gallery to the next (wear comfortable shoes. No high heels, for God’s sake).

To be honest, no matter what exhibitions are on, chances are, you will see something cool. The quantity is overwhelming but there’s good quality on show too. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be leaving the galleries feeling excited and inspired to try out a few projects. Seeing art is so important. It fuels the brain and puts your mind in a different gear. You don’t actually have to go all the way to Chelsea to see art though. You can always go online, on www.mfadegree.net, to find out about art programs in your area. Beauty and inspiration are always within easy reach. Never forget that.

Next time I go to Chelsea (I still have 200 galleries to visit, after all. Easy peasy!) I promise to take better pictures and to make a note of the names of my favorite artists. Maybe that way, I might actually remember them as well, instead of just going: “oh, look at the pretty picture by what’s his name…” That’s just terrible!

In the meantime, stay tuned for more NY updates.

Lots of love from the Lower East Side.

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