Arts in Chelsea

Chelsea has become the center of the New York art world.  Prior to Chelsea, the art scene was in SoHo, but due to increasing rents and competition from upscale retailers for larger spaces in the late 1990s the transition was made. Now Chelsea is the center of contemporary art, home to hundreds of art galleries and numerous artist studios. Through the analysis of Chelsea’s public art and numerous art galleries the understanding for why Chelsea was named the center of the art world will become known.


First off, Chelsea is home to several art schools. Through having schools such as the Fashion Institute of Technology (has buildings in Chelsea), The School of Visual Arts, and The Public High School of Fashion Industries the artistic world is indirectly brought into Chelsea. In addition to Chelsea having art schools, it is also home to hundreds of art museums and art galleries.

In pursuit to help easily identify Chelsea’s art galleries and museums Chelsea created an online map

This map easily identifies which galleries and museums are open, which once are closed and when the new ones are coming. We personally used this map when we decided to explore the Mathew Day Jackson show at Hauser and Wirth located on W 18th St. Mathew’s show was full of intricate work which focused on the connection the human body has with nature. This visual display of man and nature directly relates to Thoreau and his views on nature. Thoreau’s ideology of nature needing man to make it significant while at the same time remaining essentially separate from humans was expressed through Jackson’s pieces and directly relates to Thoreaus argument of nature becoming a medium for greater self-understanding and spiritual insight.  Emerson expresses how “The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship” (Emerson).  Nature benefits from man just as much as we benefit from nature. Through Jackson’s work this integration of man and nature is directly identified.


In addition to art Galleries and museums, Chelsea has a huge public art scene. From its architecture to its statues, all of Chelsea’s public art help define the space as a place. Through looking at our lens of Chelsea being an open space which allows for endless possibilities; Chelsea’s art is a result of these possibilities. Its loose space allows for one’s creativity to blossom. This ideology of Chelsea’s loose space directly relate to Franck and Stevens notion of how ” loose space depends upon: first of people’s recognition of the potential within the space and , second, varying degrees of creativity and determination to make use of what is present [through] modifying existing elements or bringing in new ones” (13).  This concept of loose space to enrich creativity directly relates to Chelsea’s public art. Its public art is seen as an integration of the space and an assimilation of Chelsea as a whole. Naturally its art helps define the given area and set the tone for the surrounding areas. This organic form of art was identified when we passed a local restaurant. On the outside of the restaurant, there was this wooden outdoor gazebo that was entwined with vines and flowers. This effortless art that was intentionally installed, defined the space and tone of the restaurant itself.

Work Cited

Emerson, W. (1836). Nature.

Franck, Karen A. ., and Quentin Stevens. Loose Space. London: Routledge, 2007. Print.

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden. Boston: Beacon, 1997. Print.