Art

Art galleries, exhibitions and reviews of the latest and best art in New York

Art

A look at artist-legend Basquiat’s previously unseen notebooks

The Brooklyn Museum rediscovers some 160 pages of sketches and poetry by the street artist turned art star

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The top five New York art shows this week

Check out our art critic's suggestions for the best art exhibitions you don’t want to miss

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“Jon Kessler’s Gifts”

Although Jon Kessler tends nowadays toward immersive, interactive installations crowded with closed-circuit cameras, flatscreen monitors, iPads and other technological gizmos, he initially made a name for himself in the 1980s with mechanical contraptions that were at once complicated and surreal. Their spirit is revived with this group of absurdly whimsical mobiles and animated sculptures assembled from souvenirs, store-bought tchotchkes, tiny motors and assorted elements the artist made by hand. Originally created over the years as presents for family and friends, they’re joined by new examples made for this show. The Lady—Juliette Kessler’s 16th Birthday Gift (2010) transforms his daughter’s favorite doll into an animatronic marionette set atop a red box containing the wheels that pull its strings; an opening in the front reveals its inner workings. Barbara Sukowa’s 60th Birthday Gift (2010) is a sinuous, rotating balancing act of wires delicately dangling the numbers 6 and 0 while perched on an aluminum cast of Kessler’s upright thumb. A motion detector activates Sarah Hoover and Tom Sachs Wedding Gift (2013), causing a sequence in which a rod protruding from the crotch of a kneeling, bare-chested action figure thrusts against a pair of vertical rods (topped with the letters T and S, respectively), making them jiggle. Beautifully displayed on gray plinths wrapped around the gallery’s old wooden columns and lit like diamonds in a jewelry store, the objects in this show gl

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Art

NYC’s art world: The Mad Men years

In art as in advertising, the ’60s were tumultuous and transformational

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Art

The 100 best paintings in New York

Leading artists, gallery owners, curators and critics pick the best paintings to be seen in NYC

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Must-see art exhibitions

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Top art this week

With an art scene as prominent and ever-changing as New York’s, you don’t want to miss these essential exhibitions.

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Time Out's picks

The best art shows in New York, as chosen by Time Out's critics.

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Best free art in NYC

Looking for some free things to do, art enthusiasts? Thought so.

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Current art exhibition reviews

Art

"2015 Triennial: Surround Audience"

As everyone expected, the New Museum’s third triennial of youngish artists—curated by new-media maven Lauren Cornell and artist Ryan Trecartin, whose own frenetic, extended video selfies were a hit of the first Triennial—abounds with digitized avatars in one form or another. The showstopper, Frank Benson’s seductively hyperreal sculpture Juliana, was rendered from a 3-D scan of transgender artist Juliana Huxtable (whose photographic self-portraits nearby unfortunately pale in comparison). Seen reclining nude on a pedestal, she exudes an exoticism that arises as much from her otherworldly metallic sheen as it does her unconventional combination of sexual features. Yet a nagging resemblance to Jean-Paul Goude’s images of Grace Jones raises unexamined questions about Benson’s work within a history of white artists representing shiny black bodies—and also, why so many artists in the show seem unaware of the wheels they reinvent. Happily, a number of works look outward instead of narcissistically inward. Josh Kline’s room-filling installation, Freedom, centers on a video of an uncanny President Obama, created with face-substitution software, giving the defiant inaugural speech we’d all wished for. Close by, under cell-phone trees with credit-card leaves, life-size Teletubbies in riot gear sport tablet devices playing loops of actual cops reading civilian Twitter feeds, some taken from Occupy Wall Street. Kline’s evocation of aspirational politics, malleable identities and the con

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Art

"System and Vision"

This show—meant to connect outsider art to the mainstream—is a treasure trove of drawings, photographs and objects. Made mostly by individuals who didn’t consider themselves artists, it leaves you wanting more from each of them. The first room revolves around a familiar art-historical subject: females as objects of sexual desire. The works here include Morton Bartlett’s Polaroids and drawings of his homemade, anatomically correct dolls of young girls, as well as William Crawford’s delicate pencil renderings on the backside of prison rosters, which may represent a chronicle of his sexual fantasies while incarcerated. They feature the same character in flagrante with different women and have been compared to Tom of Finland and John Currin. A second gallery veers toward occultism, doomsday prophecy and conspiracy theories. Horst Ademeit took thousands of banal Polaroids (each heavily notated in the margins) of his home and neighborhood in Germany to document the effects of “cold rays,” an invisible radioactive power that he believed emanated from electrical outlets. Ademeit’s thorough and paranoid practice, which he never intended to share with anyone, has obvious affinities with Conceptual Art. Just as out-there are works by Chris Hipkiss, the pseudonym for married couple Chris and Alpha Mason. Their elaborate drawings blend alchemical diagrams with cartoonish, postapocalyptic visions and recall the work of Florine Stettheimer, another artist who straddled the boundary betwe

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Art

"From Pop to Punk: Peter Saul"

Even before there was Pop Art, Peter Saul was making it. Born in 1934, Saul gave birth to his idiosyncratic style while living in Paris and Rome in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Inspired by MAD magazine, his paintings and works on paper observe American culture and its hypocrisies through a perverse prism, free-associating pop-cultural references with political themes. The works here date from 1961 to 1973 and come from the collection of Allan Frumkin, Saul’s former dealer. Among the standouts, Superman and Superdog in Jail (1963) captures the Man of Steel and his faithful companion in a cell as the former squats on a toilet and the latter drinks from it. In Superman in the Electric Chair (1967) the superhero melts in the hot seat as a policewoman spews red dollar signs. Later in his life, Saul’s compositions became harder-edged and bathed in Day-Glo hues. One painting depicts political activist Angela Davis crucified and pierced by jackknives carved with puns on the name jesus (jee us, jezz ass, etc.). Grotesque and compelling, it speaks to Saul’s career-long commitment to fighting injustice and speaking truth to power.—Paul Laster

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Art

Rosalyn Drexler, "Vulgar Lives"

Rosalyn Drexler, now in her eighties, has been a novelist, playwright, Emmy-winning comedy writer and, for a few months when she was in her twenties, a lady wrestler. Drexler has also been an artist. This show of paintings made between 1959 and 1991 focuses on themes that have preoccupied her in all of her endeavors: gender roles, relations between the sexes, crime, politics and power. In the 1960s, Drexler produced a variety of Pop Art that was more narrative and political than that of her male contemporaries. Then, as now, she took images from newspapers, magazines, films and television and enlarged them as paper prints, before collaging them on canvas and overpainting with acrylics. At first, these images were presented against monochrome backgrounds. The figure in a painterly portrait of the artist as a pinup girl in garters and a frothy tulle skirt, for example, is suspended in a field of flat orange. But by the 1980s, Drexler was combining multiple pictures into surreal tableaux, such as Night Visitors (1988), which depicts a comfortable living room with a big picture window with a view outside of an approaching group of men in black suits. Drexler looks especially prescient in the gallery’s backroom, where a group of collaged studies from 1960 conjures the cutout pictures on colored backgrounds made in the 1980s by Pictures artist Sarah Charlesworth. Drexler’s collages, like Charlesworth’s, aren’t icons so much as they are interrogations of the mass media and its ef

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Upcoming art exhibitions

Art

"Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks"

This show presents some 160 pages culled from the artist’s notebooks—sketches, but also examples of the artist’s poetry and other writings—along with related paintings and works on paper.

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Art

"One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North"

Centering around a 60-panel series of paintings by Jacob Lawrence, this show deals with a chapter of the nation’s history unfamiliar to a lot of people, especially whites: The story of five to six million African Americans fleeing the Jim Crow South for the cities of the Northeast, the Midwest and the West Coast between 1910 and 1970. African Americans left their homes to escape poverty, segregation, harassment, an unfair legal system and the violence routinely perpetrated upon them by their white neighbors. Lawrence was among the first to grasp the import of the Great Migration, which he set out to immortalize in his paintings. Besides Lawrence, MoMA will include other artists such as Charles White, Romare Bearden and Gordon Parks, as well as posters and books. It’s all part of a fascinating look not just at race, but at how people chase the American Dream, even with the odds stacked against them.

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Art

"China: Through the Looking Glass"

This exhibition, which is on view in both the Met's Chinese galleries and the Anna Wintour Costume Center, takes a look at the Middle Kingdom's influence on Western fashion with displays of haute couture and art objects from China.

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Art

"Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960–1971"

Before Yoko Ono became inextricably linked with John Lennon—and disparaged as the woman who "broke up" The Beatles—she was an artist, with a career stretching back to the early 1960s. Ono was a conceptual and performance artist, a sincere absurdist influenced by Duchamp and the Fluxus movement. But her delicately minimal aesthetic owed just as much to her Japanese background. This survey—which mostly covers the years leading up to her pop-cultural celebrity—is the first of its kind, and is anchored by her odd, previous association with MoMA: An unofficial show she mounted for herself at the museum in 1971. It consisted primarily of a sign at the entrance, informing the public that she had released flies around the museum. Ono never stopped making her work, which in recent years has been re-introduced to art-world audiences, but his exhibition puts her efforts into historical context.

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Most popular art stories

Things to do

Tour artist Alex Da Corte's haunted house exhibition, "Die Hexe"

Take a digital tour through the eerie rooms of Da Corte's lush, mysterious installation

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Art

The Armory Show blows up with more than 160 exhibitors

Take our exclusive tour of the fair and the latest in contemporary art

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Art

Kehinde Wiley talks about portraiture and going for baroque

Kehinde Wiley’s brand of hip-hop portraiture blows up at the Brooklyn Museum

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Art

The 10 best art shows coming in 2015

We look ahead to art in 2015—from a 14-year survey of Kehinde Wiley's career, to Björk's most anticipated retrospective

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Best art galleries in New York

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Best Chelsea galleries

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Best art galleries on the Lower East Side

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Best photography galleries

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Best art galleries on 57th Street

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Latest art news

Blog

Artist renders state pols as New York kitties

Bet you've never pictured a New York politician as a cat

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Blog

Guess what? Women are still underrepresented in the art world

We know from Patricia Arquette's impassioned acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress at Sunday night's Oscars that women are given the short end of the stick in Hollywood

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Blog

New York is thinking about storm-proofing against the next Sandy: Good Idea!

Along with floodwaters and blackouts, 2012's Superstorm Sandy brought with it the sudden realization that New York City was highly susceptible to going the way of Atlantis in this age of global warming

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Condo sellers asking $150 million for penthouse because in filthy rich New York, they can

The rich! They're just like us, except with, you know, a lot more money. Lots more

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New York art in pictures

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The 10 best art shows of 2014

The absolute best of New York’s art shows and exhibits from 2014.

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Art

NYC’s art world: The Mad Men years (slide show)

In art as in advertising, the ’60s were tumultuous and transformational.

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Art

A guide to the Italian Futurism art movement

From its radical beginnings to its fascist incarnation, Italian Futurism shocked the world.

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Art

Preview: Chuck Close, “Nudes 1967–2014”

Going beyond his famed portraits, Close directed his work to areas below the neck, too.

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Best museums in New York

Museums

Whitney Museum of American Art

Like the Guggenheim, the Whitney Museum is set apart by its unique architecture

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Museums

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Hang out in an Egyptian temple, gawk at period costumes and take pictures on the gorgeous rooftop garden

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Museums

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim Museum is as famous for its landmark building as it is for its impressive collection and daring temporary shows

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Museums

The American Museum of Natural History

No matter which wing you wander through or where your curiosities lie, it’s hard to explore without being awestruck

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See more New York museums