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    Metamorphosis in Chelsea
by Charlie Finch
New York's Chelsea art district, looking northeast
303's Mary Spirito, and I-Mac
Hans-Peter Feldman
11 Left Shoes
(lent by 303 Gallery employees)
at 303
I-20, getting ready for fall
Paul Judelson
Jose Freire with paintings by Lisa Ruyter
The contemporary art boom, like your lover's body, should perhaps not be examined too closely. After the deprivation-driven '90s, a sumptuous snuggle should just be enjoyed.

And signs that success continues in contemporary art are all over Chelsea this summer.

Ex-Booner Mary Spirito is doing boffo business as Lisa Spellman's new 303 honcho, featuring scatter-artist Hans-Peter Feldmann -- a kind of antiseptic Tracey Emin (though Feldmann was first).

Spirito does double duty this summer, co-curating the cyber-pop show "Tomorrow" at Rare on West 14th Street. This show really is a video showcase for standup artist Guy Richards Smit, the antiseptic Lenny Bruce.

Next door to Rare in Meatville, Cynthia Broan curated a one-day show for a local media shoot, while up 10th Avenue, Susan Kravets and Mark Wehby started to expand and renovate their unique box cube of a gallery -- when you enter, you look up at the dealers.

It's hard to believe it's August. We went by the I-20 building on West 20th Street to say goodbye to dealer Steffany Martz, who's going back to school at Hunter College and, surprise, found that longtime 57th Street dealer Peter Tatischeff had already moved in, with his now hip representational inventory.

"After 15 years uptown, I'm going after a younger crowd," a satisfied Tat told us -- he's got a good deal on a corporate sub-lease in the building.

Upstairs, I-20's Paul Judelson and Gilles Presti sat down to a buffet-working lunch at floor-mate Folin/Riva.

We met young critic David Hunt, whose work we admire in Time Out New York, for the first time. He's curating a show of black & white work called "Dusk" at I-20 this fall. 23 artists in all, though a certain Gavin Brown summer artist, who was not included, presumptuously dialed David and asked, "Which piece of mine do you want?"

Pushy pushy.

Meanwhile, the new breed continues to rumble -- a visit to Team Gallery found cerebral hustlers José Freire and Lisa Ruyter holding back the summer crowds.

Lisa and the House of Givenchy beguiled each other in a recent meeting, hence Lisa will do paintings for the fashion emporium, on top of those for her upcoming solo show at Leo Koenig, surpassing her normal protean workload.

As for Freire, hubby José told me, "You know you've really made it when you sell a lot to museums."

When a dealer brags on that, over the ever-present I-Mac, well, let the Chelsea good times roll!!!

CHARLIE FINCH is coauthor of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula.