Your New York Exhibition Guide

Must-See Shows This Week

Wondering what’s on view and what to see? Let us be your guide to exploring the New York art scene. Scroll through for our favorite exhibitions up now and check back weekly for fresh updates to this list. Happy arting!

Matthew Wong Cheim & Reid

Matthew Wong at Cheim & Reid

Few artists dazzle with the brilliance and intensity of Matthew Wong, whose career was cut tragically short when he died by suicide at the age of 35. Wong’s visceral urge to draw and paint is felt throughout his work, and perhaps most powerfully so in a series of paintings he made during a three month stay in Los Angeles in 2016. Sizzling with that city’s frenetic energy, the work dances between abstraction and representation. Wong’s ecstatic dots, yearning lines, and inky pools contain vast realms of emotion, and emerge as the true subjects of the paintings. Standing in front of a Matthew Wong, you can do little else but plunge in and lose yourself.

Exhibition Site

Black Venus at Fotografiska 2

Black Venus at Fotografiska

If art history has been particularly unfair to women — objectifying their bodies, depriving them of agency, stifling their voices — then it has been doubly cruel to Black women. The curator Aindrea Emelife is out to make amends, determined to reclaim Black womanhood and “establish a legacy” of Black feminine representation, which she does with skill and persuasion in this show at Fotografiska. Emelife brings together 19 photographers, whose wide-ranging work presents a complex portrait of Black women. Taking as its starting point a colonial stereotype of the “Hottentot Venus,” the show confronts historical ills but also celebrates the progress and power of its contemporary artists and subjects.

Exhibition Site

Nicole Eisenman at Hauser Wirth | ArtDrunk

Nicole Eisenman at Hauser & Wirth

Nicole Eisenman has a knack for capturing the rough-and-tumble essence of life. The pandemic threw the familiar into question, and Eisenman has spent recent years exploring how art tells the story, however nonsensical, of our messy existence. For example, there’s one sculpture featuring a strange figure, a rotating mound of clay, all surrounded by chaotic clutter that’s a burst of creativity. Eisenman’s newest paintings are also on view, seemingly capturing how we’ve lived and what we’ve longed throughout the pandemic. One painting shows a figure lying alone on the couch, cat perched on top, remote pointed towards the TV. Yet another painting is packed to the brim with people in a park. 

Exhibition Site

Alfredo Jaar, Galerie Lelong & Co.

Alfredo Jaar at Galerie Lelong & Co.

Alfredo Jaar’s latest show will reward even the most pessimistic of gallery-goers. Inspired by the writer Emil Cioran, for whom “existence, at its core, is endless anguish and despair,” Jaar instead offers a space of resistance and hope. Step into the main gallery space and you’re immediately submerged in glowing scarlet red. Neon words spew philosophy into the room. In a separate room, the show also features Jaar’s selection of works by 72 other artists, all of whom “sought to resist and change the world.” Take the time to browse and be filled with this triumphant chorus of unity and resilience. Democracy finds itself in particular peril these days: Jaar reminds you that art can go a long way in saving it.

Exhibition Site

Ella Walker, Casey Kaplan - ArtDrunk

Ella Walker at Casey Kaplan

Ah, virtue and vice! These two pillars of art history (and life) never go out of style. Regardless of which ruled your past weekend, Ella Walker proves the theme is just as engrossing today as it was for the 14th-century painter Giotto, whose frescoes inspired this show. Walker’s seductive paintings riff on Giotto’s subtle hues and precise lines. Women, however, are now the protagonists, grouped together in intricate poses and decked out in symbolism: armored breastplates, harlequin motley, and Christlike wounds. Walker also embraces raw materials. She uses obsolete pigments like malachite green and azurite blue, giving the work a rare, otherworldly quality. The show’s smart, refreshing twist on art history is not to be missed.

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