Your New York Exhibition Guide

Must-See Shows This May

May is the busiest month on the New York art world calendar. You’ve got art fairs galore (Frieze and TEFAF being the main ones) and major auction sales that also bring out the best gallery exhibitions all year round. Check back weekly as we update what to see.


Tammy Nguyen

Wonder Women, Curated by Kathy Huang at Deitch

The rise in Asian hate crimes in America has led to an incredible coming together of the Asian American art community. Benefit auctions left and right, new community groups forming, Asian American artists gaining the spotlight with big solo shows. Yet there has not been a show that comprehensively captures both the breadth and depth of this moment. Until now. Enter Wonder Women, thirty Asian American and diasporic women and non-binary artists exploring themes of wonder, self, and identity. It’s a show about generational trauma, colonization, violence, heteronormativity, but it’s also a story about mythology, love, self-discovery, and community. An exhibition that really allows you to see how art reflects life – perhaps even your own.

Just down the block, you can check out Sasha Gordon’s show at Deitch’s other NY space. She’s also featured in Wonder Women.

Deitch Exhibition Site

William Monk at GRIMM Gallery

William Monk at GRIMM Gallery (and Pace)

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in an otherworldly realm of complex and mystical forms, then look no further. Spanning across two sites (although technically a third will open in East Hampton May 27), William Monk’s latest show invites you on a contemplative and sensorial experience. At GRIMM, you’ll find he’s focused on his Ferryman, a manifestation of death painted in a way that is part Rorschach and part Stanley Kubrick in style. At Pace, the paintings on view are much larger and create — what they like to call — a cinematic experience as you venture from one room to the next. We just really love his colors and the atmospheric qualities he creates with paint (look up his Volcano works. Those are our favorite).

GRIMM Exhibition SitePace Exhibition Site

Ouattara Watts at Karma

Ouattara Watts at Karma

Get ready for a mouthful. Glimpses of light punctuate vertical strokes of dark paint. A semi-abstract figure plays the piano. Textile-looking shapes layer in-between. Mathematical values orbit a star with six points. Hopefully we’ve painted your imagination the same way Ouattara Watts paints his canvases. Influenced by cultures across Africa, Europe, and America, Watts brings together everything from the cosmos to the more earthly arts and sciences. In his show, he takes you on a journey from the oldest shamanic traditions to the newest contemporary philosophies. He leaves you with some viewing options: reflect on the meaning of the universe or simply spend time admiring the elegance of painting. 

Karma Exhibition Site

TEFAF NY

TEFAF NY at the Park Avenue Armory

An art fair for museum (and flower) lovers

If Egyptian sarcophogi, Warhol paintings, and Byzantine manuscripts sound like the collection at The Met, then you’d be right. But what about Egyptian sarcophogi, Warhol paintings, and Byzantine manuscripts that you can buy? Throw in some more contemporary art too and that’s what you’ll find at TEFAF NY, the American twin of The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) art fair based out of Maastricht, Netherlands. If the masterpieces on view aren’t enough to entice a visit, they also have some of the best flower displays and an overall luxurious ambiance with their mood lighting. We suggest dressing a bit on the nicer side, and you’ll find yourself the perfect activity if you want to feel fancy. 

Tickets are $55 for adults, $25 for students. 

TEFAF Site

Whitney Biennial 2022

Whitney Biennial 2022 at the Whitney Museum

For those needing a crash course on American art

New York leaps back to life, and the Whitney Biennial returns like the whack of a slingshot, ready to give us all that is pressing and relevant in the world of art. The Biennial, which has striven since 1932 to present a real-time snapshot of American creative production, will offer an array of 63 artists whose works includes painting, sculpture, performance, and video. Originally slated for 2021, the show was recalibrated to account for the pandemic, racial justice protests, and the election. This year promises to be a rich and fascinating offering, and the curators’ ambitions to deliver a portrait of “the country’s physical and psychological boundaries” are sure to generate a good deal of buzz. Whether you know the art world inside-out, or are peering in for the first time, the Whitney will not fail to disappoint.

Exhibition Site

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