Art

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

Art

The top five New York art shows this week

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

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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

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Izumi Kato

Like his fellow Japanese artists Yoshitomo Nara and Takashi Murakami, Izumi Kato traffics in an anime-inspired figurative style both fantastical and otherworldly. His paintings and sculptures depict bug-eyed, bat-winged creatures that are part extraterrestrial, part African totem. The results aren’t as cutesy as Nara’s work nor as overblown as Murakami’s. Born in 1969, Kato didn’t start making art until he was nearly 30. Before that, he’d done manual labor, and while he eventually received formal art training, his background may account for the outsiderish quality of his work as well as his emphasis on materials. Instead of a brush, Kato hand-rubs layers of color onto canvas, creating tactile surfaces that give off a liminal glow. His sculptures of carved, painted wood are sometimes sheathed in clear, malleable vinyl, like ritual objects stuffed into spacesuits. Kato’s mix of the weird and the tangible carries distant echoes of Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee and Constantin Brâncusi, but what he brings to the table is pure 21st century. This show is the artist’s first in New York and very unlikely to be his last.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Art

Jonathan Lasker

For more than three decades, Jonathan Lasker’s cartoony canvases have employed a pared-down set of motifs to poke fun at abstract painting. Somewhere along the way, however, parody became sustained inquiry. His new paintings add a hint of the digital to the mix. In For John Hancock, rows of rectangular boxes containing identical doodly lines grow larger as they replicate down the canvas. The doodle itself reappears in thick paint, tinted with slightly off secondary colors, like a king-size clone made of cake frosting. While Lasker’s pictures may seem a little calculating and starchy, his feats of intellectual and painterly prowess impress. The Plus Sign at Golgotha features a black grid sporting a cross-shaped form in bubblegum pink and baby blue rising from a blocky horizon line, as if Kazimir Malevich had essayed the crucifixion. Yet the cross sits empty, and the actors at its base consist of impastoed squiggles. It’s a funny image, less a tragedy repeated as farce than a burlesque, of modernist art’s spiritual aspirations. Moving the painting’s pieces around on the chessboard of the canvas, Lasker plays out a fascinating, quasi-religious endgame of its own.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Art

“Concrete Cuba”

Lying 90 miles off the Florida Keys, Cuba has been terra incognita for the past half century, a place made strange by geopolitics and proximity to these shores. The same could be said of Cuba’s art scene, though contemporary Cuban artists have occasionally shown in New York galleries during the past 20 or 30 years. Now, as the result of the thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations and also of a larger project to backfill 20th-century art history (or, if you prefer, to introduce fresh product to the market), David Zwirner offers this museum-quality survey of paintings and sculptures by a heretofore unfamiliar group of midcentury modernists from the island nation. Los Diez Pintores Concretos (the 10 Concrete Painters), as the movement called itself, was already trapped in amber during its period of busiest activity in the late ’50s/early ’60s. At a time when artists in the U.S., Europe and even Latin America transitioned from Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art, the artists here clung to a style of geometric abstraction developed earlier in the century. They considered their work political or at least utopian in its commitment to form, color and material. In works by Mario Carreño, nonobjective elements fall together to create suggestions of figurative tableaux like those you’d find in the Surrealist work of Pablo Picasso. Sandú Darié visually channels Constructivism and, as in the case of his 1964 composition, Estructura (Structure), Suprematism. Wifredo Arcay’s paintings have a quirky ap

Time Out says
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Art

“Martin Wong: Human Instamatic”

The late, great Martin Wong (1946–99) arrived in New York in 1978 and quickly became a bard of the pre-gentrified Lower East Side, with moody depictions of burned-out tenements, often graced by hunky male Latinos. Big Heat (1988), for example, shows a pair of firemen kissing in front of abandoned buildings patchy with whitewashed graffiti. A self-taught painter, Wong cultivated an outsider artist’s obsessiveness, meticulously rendering every rough brick in his cityscapes and strange, nearly abstract pictures of blank walls. He was also given to esoteric sign systems, filling skies with star charts and chubby hands forming inscriptions in American Sign Language. This admirable retrospective also includes work envisioning sexy prison fantasies and exuberant nocturnes of Chinatowns in Manhattan and Wong’s native San Francisco. The artist’s early death from AIDS cut short a career in full bloom, a loss made especially clear by three small canvases of ghostly cacti completed during the last years of his life. But, like Houston Street (1986), a nearly life-size image of a battered security gate, Wong’s odes to a vanished downtown remain his most indelible legacy.

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

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10 must-see exhibitions in NYC this winter

Stay warm and art-savvy with our picks for winter's best shows art shows

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Things to do

The 16 best exhibits we can’t wait to see in 2016

Fairy-tale fashion, textbook sculptures and much more

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Art

The best public art to see in NYC this winter

Thaw your seasonal adjustment disorder with these top public art works

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“David Hammons: Five Decades”

A must-see look back at the African-American artist's 50-year career

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Most popular art stories

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Artist Jim Shaw talks sexy tinker bell and The Seven Deadly sins

With his first NYC retrospective at the New Museum, the L.A. artist talks about his visionary work

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Check out the top 25 sculptures at MoMA

Take our tour of the works that wrote the book on modern and contemporary art in 3-D

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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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New York's quirkiest museums

Check out these oddities in the city’s strangest and perhaps most interesting museums and attractions

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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

Starting 2016, Thursday nights at the Brooklyn Museum are free

It's gotten a little lighter on the wallet fro New York museum-goers, thanks to Squarespace

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Blog

Robots are coming to entertain and frighten you in Red Hook

For three nights only, Chico will be mounting his Robotic Church

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Blog

Canine connoisseur does not sniff at contemporary art

Meet Pickles, a French bulldog who is a regular presence on the art scene

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Blog

See street-art on storefront security gates that are completely legal

Street-art murals are popping up on security gates all over the Lower East Side

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New York art in pictures

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The top 50 New York photographs

We round up iconic depictions of NYC moments high and low

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Mary Ellen Mark’s best NYC street photography

To honor Mark and her work, we take a look back at her most stunning New York-set shots

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See photos from Justin Bettman’s amazing #SetintheStreet

Get your photograph taken at this Times Square installation

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See classic photos of the Lower East Side’s ‘90s squatter population

Photographer Ash Thayer’s images of a more Bohemian Manhattan reveal New York life in an edgier time

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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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