No matter the day job, in New York an artist's occupation often is staying one step ahead of the real estate market. This was true for Joe Amrhein, an artist who, in 1994, found himself dissatisfied with "just going to openings and parties and sending out slides." He decided to open a gallery in what was then an inexpensive neighborhood, North Williamsburg. Today his enterprise, Pierogi, is the area's unofficial cultural hub, where artists, curators and collectors regularly drop in. "He embodies the D.I.Y. neighborhood spirit," said Becky Smith, a contemporary-art dealer who moved her gallery to Chelsea from Williamsburg.
If so, the neighborhood, or at least Mr. Amrhein's business, is definitely on the move. He's not adding an outpost in Chelsea, as eight of his neighbors have done, or moving there outright, as Ms. Smith did. Instead, in what may be the boldest coup yet for the expanding hipster nation, next month he's adding a branch in Leipzig, Germany. The location is the Spinnerei, a former cotton-spinning mill that is now home to artists' studios and galleries associated with the Leipzig school of painting. Speaking by phone from the new premises, Mr. Amrhein called the city "the Williamsburg of Germany."
It's funny because this is the second time I've heard about how cheap real estate is in Germany. This all reminds me of that film Liquid Sky, where the girlfriend of the main character keeps telling "We're going to go to Berlin baby!"