Echoing reduced admissions at New York's museums, Saturday gallery traffic in Chelsea is down about 40 percent by common consensus of gallerists interviewed. This diminution is due entirely to a lack of foreign art day-trippers since Sept. 11.
Timid non-visitors have missed splendid autumn weather, a wide range of excellent contemporary art, and a brace of comfortable new Chelsea spaces, the most elegant of which is Dee Glasoe on the corner of Eleventh Avenue and 20th Street.
"We've only just opened," the gallery's brand new director, Pearl Albino, formerly of Stux gallery, told us, "so people are not yet used to walking west of Feigen Contemporary."
The space is best appreciated at three in the afternoon when the drifting sun beams powerfully through Dee Glasoe's front doors, enhancing the beauty within.
Smooth operators Elizabeth Dee and Carolyn Glasoe handle a relatively conservative, painting-friendly inventory, currently featuring slick figure-ground concoctions by ancient Yalie Carl Ostendarp.
Ostendarp's pastel palette functions like visual Prozac, perfect for the corporate suite. Edgier sorts should go for Dee Glasoe's best artist, conceptual photographer Kevin Landers, whose wistful portrait of a caged chicken was one of last season's highlights.
There are no stars yet in this gallery, which, with the exception of Ostendarp, concentrates on the young and emerging. Charles Avery and Charlotta Westergren are two more talents to check out in Carolyn and Elizabeth's backroom.
And what a backroom it is! A cozy alleyway opens onto an atrium full of comfy sofas and chic glass tables.
Nothing forbidding or foreboding, like the new spaces from Pace, Sonnabend, Sean Kelly, etc.
Sweet intimacy makes the new Dee Glasoe click, but don't tell the out-of-towners.
It's our secret.
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).