New York art exhibitions to visit this winter: a guide


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By Tilly Macalister-Smith, Harriet Lloyd-Smith

New York art exhibitions to visit this winter

Stay up to date with our permanent guide to the best New York art exhibitions and events for your journal

In the 20th century, New York established itself as the homeland of abstract expressionism and subversive pop art. Today, the city is the canvas for a new school of artists pushing the boundaries of media and making social justice their main message.

World-renowned institutions such as MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum Of Art, and the Guggenheim continue to attract tourists and art lovers alike. Leading commercial galleries such as Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, Pace, Perrotin and David Zwirner all occupy a vast area, some with multiple locations, while a multitude of lesser-known but well-respected galleries constantly showcase emerging and established talent. .

Manhattan art fairs – The Armory Show, Frieze, and Independent among them – have become highly anticipated annual events in the art calendar. After a hiatus from in-person artistic experiences, New York City is “back” and proving that it remains a hub of creativity, originality, commerce and connection.

Best Art Exhibitions in New York: Our Permanent Guide

Exhibition: ‘Normal Fault’, by Roxy Paine
Location: Kasmine
Dates: Until December 23, 2021

Installation view of ‘Normal Fault’, by Roxy Paine in Kasmin, New York. Photography: Diego Flores

In “Normal Fault,” Roxy Paine’s 14 relief paintings and one of the artist’s signature dioramas explore humanity’s impact on the natural world and the tragic disruption to its once finely balanced ecosystems. These new multimedia works include wood, resin, epoxy and stainless steel, as well as mold, rock and sediment. Biological, geological, figurative and abstract at the same time, several of the works subtly feature the American flag (growing flowers or mushrooms instead of stars): a commentary on the undeniable intersectionality of politics and the environment .

Based in Wyoming, Paine is surrounded by the vastness of the Midwest; landscapes both ancient and urgent, sprawling and limited, wild and inhabited. Time itself is a point of fascination for the artist, who explores macro and micro changes in our ecological environment through gradually deposited sediments (Earth flag, 2021), a great sun bursting from the canvas (Little sun, 2021), and rooted wood and epoxy (access panel, 2021).

Exhibition: Glenn Ligon, ‘It’s still a little not yet’
Location: Hauser and Wirth, 22nd street
Dates: Until December 23, 2021

Installation view, ‘Glenn Ligon. It’s still a little not yet ”, Hauser & Wirth New York, 542 West 22nd Street, 2021. © Glenn Ligon Courtesy of the artist, Hauser & Wirth, New York, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, Thomas Dane Gallery, London and Chantal Crousel, Paris. Photography: Thomas Barratt

Spanning two floors of the Hauser & Wirth building on 22nd Street, Glenn Ligon’s “It’s Always a Little Bit Not Yet” continues the artist’s four-decade exploration of history, literature and culture. American company. In brand new neon installations and debris field paintings, the acclaimed American artist draws inspiration from the influential words of prominent 20th century cultural figures. At the heart of Ligon’s spectacle is Foreigner (Full text) # 2 (2020-2021), part of a series the artist started in 1997. The piece, rendered in black oil stick and charcoal powder, refers to an essay by James Baldwin in which the writer and activist recounts his experience of visiting the village of Leukerbad, Switzerland. Baldwin describes his encounters with the villagers, many of whom had never met a black man before. Here, Ligon translates the full text of Baldwin’s essay into painting, making connections to the cultural contexts of the United States and Europe from the 1950s to the present day.

Installation: Rashid Johnson, The chorus
Location: Metropolitan Opera
Dates: Until June 2022

The Broken Nine, by Rashid Johnson, 2020, Ceramic Tile, Mirror Tile, Oyster Shells, Spray Enamel, Bronze, Oil Stick, Branded Red Oak, Black Soap, Wax. Photography: Martin Parsekian

As the art exhibitions in New York City unfold, they don’t get much more theatrical than Rashid Johnson’s latest works. A two-part installation does not take place in a conventional gallery but in the Grand Tier and Dress Circle of the Metropolitan Opera. As the Lincoln Center stage features seat ranking stars such as Puccini’s Bohemian, upstairs, the two large-scale mixed media mosaics will benefit an audience during the performance interval.

Typical of Johnson’s work, which often incorporates materials found from everyday life, the two works – The Broken Nine 2020 and 2021, collectively entitled The chorus – represent nine figures in ceramic tiles, mirror, enamel spray, soap and wax. Continuing the line of important artists who have worked with the Metropolitan Opera – including Marc Chagall and David Hockney, and most recently Cecily Brown and George Condo – Johnson brings her contemporary perspective to this legendary institution.

Exhibition: Sarah Oppenheimer ‘Sensitive Machine’
Location: Wellin Art Museum
Dates: Until December 5, 2021

Sarah Oppenheimer: “Sensitive Machine” at the Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, on view until December 5, 2021. Photography: John Bentham

American artist Sarah Oppenheimer describes ‘Sensitive Machine’ as her most difficult installation to date. The artist is best known for his works which explore how individual and collective action can shape the spaces we inhabit. Master of architectural manipulations, her work is interactive, psychological, performative and, fundamentally, deeply social. “Sensitive Machine” features four newly created “instruments” linked to existing lighting tracks and subdivision walls. By working collaboratively, viewers can touch and rotate structures, altering lines of sight, completely reconfiguring the gallery space. “As visitors manually activate each instrument, a choreography of spatial change is set in motion,” Oppenheimer described to us in a recent interview. “Light rails slide between the vertical surfaces of the sliding walls. Light levels fluctuate as lines of sight are interrupted and revealed.


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