The best free art exhibitions in NYC

Culture vultures—discover gratis art exhibitions and gallery shows in our roundup

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Looking for some free things to do, art enthusiasts? Thought so. Which is why we found a bunch of exhibitions at galleries and museums in New York that won’t cost you a cent. Visit well-known institutions like the Pace Gallery and David Zwirner and still have money in your pocket for lunch at one of the best New York restaurants.


RECOMMENDED: See all free things to do in NYC


Danh Vo, We The People, 2011–14, detail

Danh Vo, We The People, 2011–14, detail James Ewing

Danh Vo, We the People

  • Critics choice
  • Free

In this remarkable project, Vo—a Danish artist living in Berlin whose family fled his native Vietnam for Denmark after the fall of Saigon—has created a full-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty, in 250 unassembled pieces. Each segment has been

  1. Brooklyn Bridge Park Main St, at Fulton Ferry Landing, 11201
  2. Mon Nov 24 - Fri Dec 5
More info
Danh Vo, We The People, 2011–14, detail

Danh Vo, We The People, 2011–14, detail James Ewing

Danh Vo, We the People

  • Critics choice
  • Free

In this remarkable project, Vo—a Danish artist living in Berlin whose family fled his native Vietnam for Denmark after the fall of Saigon—has created a full-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty, in 250 unassembled pieces. Each segment has been

  1. City Hall Park Vesey to Chambers Sts, between Broadway and Park Row
  2. Mon Nov 24 - Fri Dec 5
More info
Sam Falls, Untitled (Maze), 2014

Sam Falls, Untitled (Maze), 2014 James Ewing

Sam Falls, "Light Over Time"

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  • Free

A process-oriented Los Angeles artist who works in a variety of media, Sam Falls has transformed Downtown Brooklyn’s MetroTech Commons into a playground for his interactive art. Exploring the passage of time through light and color, Falls displays

  1. Public Art Fund at MetroTech Center Commons MetroTech Center Commons, Myrtle Ave, between Flatbush Ave and Jay St
  2. Mon Nov 24 - Fri May 29
More info

John Baldessari, "Movie Scripts/ Art"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

In a new series of works, Baldessari pairs photographic details from Old Masters paintings with bits of dialogue excerpted from movie scripts where the scenes play out in a gallery of some sort. The upshot, perhaps, is to show how low culture can

  1. Marian Goodman Gallery 24 W 57th St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves
  2. Mon Nov 24 - Mon Dec 22
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"Picasso & Jacqueline: The Evolution of Style"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The work of Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) represents the art-historical gift that keeps on giving, offering exhibition organizers a seemingly inexhaustible supply of periods and styles to draw upon. This show takes up the last two decades of his

  1. Pace Gallery 32 E 57th St, between Madison and Park Aves
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Sat Jan 10
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George Condo, "Double Heads/Black Paintings/Abstractions"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Condo emerged during the 1980s heyday of Neo-Expressionism with a brashly comic style that melded Mad magazine with modern art history. His work wasn’t always to everyone’s taste, but his appropriative takes on 20th-century art are always

  1. Skarstedt Gallery 550 W 21st St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 10011
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Sat Dec 20
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"Eugène Atget: A Quiet Calling"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Ironically, one of the greatest names in the history of photography never considered himself an artist. Instead, Atget (1857–1927) prowled Paris, documenting its architecture and street scenes as reference photos he'd sell to painters. Aside from

  1. Pace/MacGill 32 E 57th St, between Madison and Park Aves, ninth floor
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Sat Jan 3
More info
Thomas Schiebitz, Flagge,
2014

Thomas Schiebitz, Flagge, 2014 Courtesy the artist and Tanya Bo

Thomas Scheibitz, "Studio Imaginaire"

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  • Free

Thomas Scheibitz has been a dependable presence in New York galleries since the ’90s, and his neomodernist approach has been just as reliable. His latest paintings and sculptures are business as usual, offering schematic lines and forms binding a

  1. Tanya Bonakdar Gallery 521 W 21st St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Sat Dec 20
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El Anatsui

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The Ghanaian artist returns to New York for the first time since his triumphant 2013 Brooklyn Museum survey with the latest iterations of his shimmering wall hangings and sculptures made of liquor bottle caps, printing plates and copper wire.

  1. Mnuchin Gallery 45 E 78th St, between Madison and Park Aves, 10075
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Sat Dec 13
More info

“Picasso and the Camera”

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Picasso loved the camera, and the camera loved him. He used photography both as an artistic tool and a medium to buoy his celebrity as the 20th century's most famous artist. This show includes photos by and of the artist, as well as a selection of

  1. Gagosian Gallery 522 W 21st St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Sat Jan 3
More info
Installation view
"Heinz Mack: From ZERO to Today, 1955-2014"
Sperone Westwater, New York
10 October - 13 December 2014

Installation view "Heinz Mack: From ZERO to Today, 1955-2014" Sperone Westwater, New York 10 October - 13 December 2014

"Heinz Mack: From ZERO to Today, 1955–2014"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Coinciding with the Guggenheim's survey of the postwar ZERO group, this exhibition focuses on the work of the group's cofounder, collecting examples that span nearly 60 years. Mack's ongoing interest has been the exploration of light through various

  1. Sperone Westwater 257 Bowery, between E Houston and Stanton Sts
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Sat Dec 13
More info

Louise Bourgeois, "Suspension"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The title pretty much tells the story: This show collects works by the renowned sculptor that hang from the ceiling, featuring her signature blend of figurative and abstract forms exploring themes of sex and death.

  1. Cheim & Read 547 W 25th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 10001
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Sat Jan 10
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Duane Hanson

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Often lumped in as part of the 1960s–’70s Photorealism movement, Duane Hanson's figurative sculptures went way beyond the snapshot verisimilitude practiced by painters associated with the movement. His works, whose subjects were mostly ordinary,

  1. Gagosian Gallery Park & 75 821 Park Ave, at 75th St, 10021
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Wed Dec 3
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R. H. Quaytman, "O Tópico, Chapter 27"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Quaytman doesn't see her silkscreen paintings as singular compositions, but as parts of an overall scheme detailing the arc of her career—a "book in which each successive show is a chapter," as she describes her process. Her current show revolves

  1. Gladstone Gallery 530 W 21st St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 10011
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Sat Dec 20
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Takashi Murakami, "In the Land of the Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Prone to earthquakes and tsunamis, Japan is no stranger to natural disasters, and in his latest show, Murakami takes this tragic history (most recently replayed in the 2011 tremor and tidal wave leading to the Fukushima nuclear-reactor meltdown) as

  1. Gagosian Gallery 555 W 24th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Sat Jan 17
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Sean Landers, "North American Mammals"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Landers's artistic output since the 1990s has been, essentially, one long, complex and multivalent meditation on the nature of being an artist, dealing with the existential journey peculiar to that profession. His work has ranged from confessional

  1. Petzel Gallery 456 W 18th St, between Ninth and Tenth Aves, 10011
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Sat Dec 20
More info

Neo Rauch, "At the Well"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

On view are recent paintings by the founder of the Leipzig School, whose style combines aspects of Social Realism and Surrealism to create dense allegorical compositions that are sometimes elusive in their meaning but nonetheless evocative of

  1. David Zwirner 533 W 19th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Sat Dec 20
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Thomas Houseago, MOUN ROOM

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The artist takes a break from his usual monumental, Neo-Brutalist figurative sculptures for his latest show, which consists of an installation piece inspired by Angkor Wat in Cambodia and by the Silver and Golden Pavilions of Kyoto, Japan. The work

  1. Hauser & Wirth New York 511 W 18th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 10011
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Sat Jan 17
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Richard Pousette-Dart

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The youngest member of the Abstract Expressionists (he can be seen pictured in The Irascibles, Nina Leen's famed 1950 photo for Life magazine) and one of the few artists to have received solo exhibitions at all four of the city's major museums,

  1. Pace Gallery 510 W 25th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves , 10001
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Sat Jan 10
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Blair Thurman

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Thurman specializes in snappy, colorful, shaped canvases that imbue geometric forms with Pop Art pizzazz, giving Donald Judd's notion of the minimalist "specific object" a revved-up appeal. They have a totemic quality that borrows from sources as

  1. Gagosian Gallery 980 Madison Ave, between 76th and 77th Sts
  2. Tue Nov 25 - Sat Dec 20
More info
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