Your New York Exhibition Guide

What to see in April 2022

New York is back in action and there’s no better sign than the Whitney Biennial throwing 63 artists at you. Yeah, that’s a lot and it can be overwhelming for us too. So the rest of our top picks are solo exhibitions that allow you a bit of a calming escape — many of them deal with domestic spaces and materials. It’s like you never even left home but you’re getting to see some amazing art.

Faith Ringgold at the New Museum

Faith Ringgold at the New Museum

For those who want to brush up on an American icon

The remarkable Faith Ringgold, now 91, remains a towering figure in the world of American culture. Her pioneering work, as varied in method as it is potent, addresses issues of social justice, feminism, and race. She takes on today’s turbulent landscape just as keenly as it did the Civil Rights upheavals sixty years ago. American People is a chance to see the most comprehensive collection of her work ever assembled. Ringgold constantly evolves and innovates, with her style and medium pivoting to address the urgency of her times. The show features sculpture, painting, and the famous quilts with which the artist challenged accepted notions of artistic hierarchy. Ringgold’s impact on American art is hard to understate, and American People is exceptional not just for its breadth of beauty, but for the opportunity it provides to appreciate her influence.

Exhibition Site

Jordan Nassar at James Cohan

Jordan Nassar To Light The Sky

For those who need to be less “online”

Tired of a constant barrage of copy-paste digital banality? Do the three letters N-F-T cause an instant eye roll? Fear not, for the meticulous works of Jordan Nassar prove that noble handcraft not only has a place in the contemporary gallery, but is at the forefront of new models of expression and representation. To Light the Sky features hand-embroidered panels and hanging glass sculptures, whose elegant geometries and quirky textures are as refined as they are delightful. The theme of landscape unites Nassar’s work, and as the forms of hills, valleys, and skies emerge from thread and glass, tell a story of the artist’s relationship to place and space.

Exhibition Site

Hilary Pecis at Rachel Uffner

Hilary Pecis Warmly

For those looking to appreciate the little things in life

Figurative paintings galore! That’s been the art world’s latest mantra. While the sheer volume of contemporary figurative painting can seem overwhelming, especially when supercharged with themes of politics and identity, the recent work of Hilary Pecis presents both a poetic respite and subtle challenge to a trend that feels near its bursting point. Brimming with delight in painting itself, her show Warmly offers carefully observed images of stillness. Landscapes and interiors feature exuberant patterns and colors, reminding us of painting’s simple yet potent ability to depict the things we love. The British painter David Hockney once said how affected he was by a simple Matisse still life of flowers on a table, painted in the darkest days of 1942. Even as the world blazes around us, an honest, intimate depiction of something familiar can hold great power.

Exhibition Site

Image Courtesy the artist and Rachel Uffner Gallery
Adrian Paci at Kaufmann Repetto

Adrian Paci The Wanderers

For those who need a reminder that the world keeps spinning

If the current state of our world, torn by violence, cruelty, and suffering, leaves you wondering to what extent art really matters, you owe yourself some time with Adrian Paci. Born in Albania, Paci was forced to leave his homeland during the 1997 uprising, and his work often deals with themes of exile, transience, and upheaval. The Wanderers, a video piece, shows two scenes: animals crossing a road in his native Albania and a procession en route to what appears to be a wedding. These quotidian images, tinged with a surreal tension, seem to tell us that, despite great misery and change, both animals and humans will go about their lives. There is something in nature that compels us to move forward, even if we do not know where. Paci leaves you with a strange, profound assurance.

Exhibition Site

Cindy Ji Hye Kim at Casey Kaplan

Cindy Ji Hye Kim In Despite of Light

For those longing for some alone time

The past two years left most of us paler and more pessimistic. Our apartments and houses felt like cells, and the passage of time turned into a morbid joke. But for Cindy Ji Hye Kim, these conditions appear to have been an artistic blessing. Her recent work at Casey Kaplan revels in themes of confinement, confusion, and death. A string of paper cutout men wrap a rat-filled vessel in the shape of a woman, flanked by two portals holding the moon and the sun. A pair of hairy legs, underwear fallen between the ankles, lie surrounded by books as a shadowy couple stand menacingly outside the window. Merging the deft wryness of a New Yorker cartoon and the grim fascination of Medieval plaque dances, this show is a must for those who secretly wish that lockdown hadn’t ended quite so soon, or perhaps quietly wish for its return.

Exhibition Site

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