Your New York Exhibition Guide

Must-See Shows in November

As the center of the contemporary art world, New York offers tons to see at the many galleries and museums that dot the city. Some might even say there are too many to see, so that’s where we come in. Explore our list of favorite exhibitions below. We keep it regularly updated, and the shows are in order of freshness. If you’re looking for a bit more in depth coverage, head to our Instagram where these shows and more are featured.

Gloucester at Karma

Artists: Dike Blair and Edward Hopper

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Joan Mitchell: Paintings, 1979–1985 at David Zwirner (20th St)

Artists: Joan Mitchell

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How Do You Hold Your Debt at JTT

Artists: Christine Sun Kim

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Henrike Naumann at SculptureCenter

When you sat down to breakfast this morning, did your kitchen table stir thoughts of “millennial bourgeois consumerism?” The sly relationship between design and politics is the focus of Henrike Naumann’s new show at SculptureCenter, which is her first ever in the US. Naumann’s scatterings of mundane yet symbolic objects – mostly furniture – tell a depressing but necessary tale of society run amok. Born in East Germany, Naumann has always been fascinated by social and political extremism, and her skill at tracing these narratives through everyday objects is fresh, funny, and sharp. You’re likely to leave this show a little more disheartened, and a little more cynical. But maybe that’s exactly what art needs to do to us these days.

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I'm Not Your Mother at PPOW | ArtDrunk

I’m Not Your Mother at PPOW Gallery

Bring your mommy issues down to PPOW, where a group show featuring thirteen artists turns conventional notions of maternal nature on their head. Starting with the early paintings of feminist pioneer Carolee Schneemann, the show then fast-forwards to works by younger artists who share similar views. The central argument is that art has objectified nature and motherhood for far too long, and it’s high time to replace the patriarchal vision of landscape and mothers as things to be dominated with a new one celebrating their inherent power and life force. Though parts of this premise rest on a deliberately reductive, and somewhat tenuous, reading of art history, this doesn’t get in the way of enjoying some very good art. After all, strong opinions are the necessary starting point for the best acts of creativity.

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Heidi Hahn | ArtDrunk

Heidi Hahn at Nathalie Karg

Imagine standing next to an artist at their easel. You watch an image emerge brushstroke by brushstroke. And you intimately engage with the essence of a painting. Few shows are able to recreate that experience, but fortunately for visitors to Nathalie Karg, Heidi Hahn achieves just that through her work. We all have frustrations, anxieties, and doubts about our own bodies. Hahn wants to “separate the body, displace its parts, and break them down into declarations.” She paints economically but sharply, conjuring unsettled figures whose out-of-proportion bodies feature both soft curves and knife-edge angles. Hahn’s paintings are open invitations to contemplate corporeal existentialism along with her, but leave enough ambiguity to suggest our own thoughts matter too. This approach is richly engaging, and highly rewarding.  

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Tau Lewis | ArtDrunk

Tau Lewis at 52 Walker

Halloween is nigh, so you can expect to come across any number of fantastic monsters creeping out from under your bed, and hiding in the alley behind the bodega. Or, in the case of the present show, dragging themselves out of a Salvation Army donation bin and into 52 Walker. Tau Lewis, a young and much-touted Canadian artist, has assembled a host of totemic beings that are shadowy, beautiful, and surprisingly erudite. They’re made from the scraps and shreds of disused clothing, but spring from a heady mixture of literature and history. Yoruban mask dramas, Greek tragedies, and the theological study of angels all inform Lewis’s work. From under their ragged mantels, these mysterious characters radiate a deep spirituality and a moving sense of life.

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Wolfgang Tillmans at MoMA | ArtDrunk

Wolfgang Tillmans at MoMA

There are a small handful of living photographers whose vision, skill, and daring elevates them above their peers to legendary status. And then there is Wolfgang Tillmans. The German photographer, known for his relentless experimentation and unmistakable vitality, allows us mere mortals to see the world through his eyes in a monumental retrospective at MoMA. Despite its stature, Tillman’s work retains a poetic intimacy. This mix of grandeur and familiarity is in large part what makes Tillmans so good. Our trying times have pushed him to an increasing insistence on political themes. And in Tillman’s hands, the camera once again shows itself to be a powerful force for justice, compassion, and humanity.

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