11 Galleries to Visit Now on the Upper East Side and in Harlem

By Roberta Smith 

Most of Manhattan’s gallery neighborhoods are losing their shape as dealers pursue viable perches wherever they find them.

But no art neighborhood has quite the elasticity of what could be called uptown. By my measure — which isn’t the only one, of course — it extends from 57th Street up the East Side into Harlem, ringing roughly half of Central Park. The concentration is shifting increasingly northward as the architectural ruination of West 57th Street continues to take out longtime gallery buildings.

Now, even with some major galleries between shows, there is great stuff to be seen along the entire route.

VENUS OVER MANHATTAN Some artists deserve to be forgotten, but the French painter Bernard Buffet (1928-1999), who enjoyed great success early in his career, may actually be too instructively lousy for that. His brittle greeting-card style and indifference to paint are apparent here in works representing some of his best-known series: flayed figures, strutting roosters, scary clowns, stingrays and tarot-card skeletons in Renaissance dress. Buffet’s spiky and always prominent signature is, like so much else about his work, an inadvertent parody.

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