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. Thu Oct 30 - 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. Thu Oct 30 - 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. Thu Oct 30 - Fri May 29
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Stephen Shore

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Shore's photographs over the past 40-odd years have been characterized by their emphasis on what could be called the vernacular landscape. People going about their business and details of everyday life—some odd, some prosaic—fill his pictures,

  1. 303 Gallery 507 W 24th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 10011
  2. Thu Oct 30 - Sat Nov 1
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David Hockney, "The Arrival of Spring"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Hockney, of course, is one of the most famous artists working today, and in this show, he presents an ode to the titular season in the form of charcoal drawings and printed iPad drawings depicting roads winding through the countryside. A new video

  1. Pace Gallery 508 W 25th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 10001
  2. Thu Oct 30 - Sat Nov 1
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Jörg Immendorff, "Café Deutschland"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Immendorff (1945–2007) created this cycle of paintings between 1977 and 1984, and they quickly became the German artist's best-known works. Stylistically evoking such pre-World War I figures as Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Max

  1. Michael Werner 4 E 77th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves
  2. Thu Oct 30 - Sat Nov 8
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Chris Martin

  • Critics choice
  • Free

For 30 years, Martin has brought his keen intelligence to bear on the medium of painting, borrowing equally from modernist abstraction, pop culture and Folk Art to create eye-popping canvases big on bold colors and equally bold forms. This show of

  1. Anton Kern Gallery 532 W 20th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Thu Oct 30 - Sat Nov 15
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Wayne Thiebaud

  • Critics choice
  • Free

At 93, this left coast legend is still going strong after a nearly half-century career that began with his role as one of the defining figures of ’60s art in California. Thanks to paintings of cakes and pies rendered in bright, frosting-thick

  1. Acquavella Galleries 18 E 79th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves, 10075
  2. Thu Oct 30 - Fri Nov 21
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John Stezaker

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The London artist's photo appropriations, which were roughly contemporaneous with those of Robert Heinecken, Joh Baldessari and the Pictures Generation, weren't well-known here until a few years ago, but since then, his film-noir aesthetic has

  1. Petzel Gallery 456 W 18th St, between Ninth and Tenth Aves, 10011
  2. Thu Oct 30 - Sat Nov 8
More info

El Anatsui

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The Ghanian artist returns to New York for the first time since his triumphant 2013 Brooklyn Museum survey with concurrent shows Uptown at Mnuchin Gallery and downtown at Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea. On view will be the latest iterations of the

  1. Jack Shainman Gallery 524 W 24th St , between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 10011
  2. Thu Oct 30 - Sat Nov 15
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. Thu Oct 30 - Sat Jan 3
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"FIRE!" (Curated by de Pury de Pury)

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The title is not a command or a warning, but refers instead to the method used to create the various ceramic and glass objects in this tasty roundup organized by Simon de Pury (noted auctioneer, collector and former reality-show judge) and his wife,

  1. Venus Over Manhattan 980 Madison Ave, between 76th and 77th Sts, third floor
  2. Thu Oct 30 - Sat Nov 1
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Jean-Luc Mylayne

  • Critics choice
  • Free

It isn't hard to imagine birds being skittish in front of a camera, but in his gorgeous, large-format color photos, the French artist has managed to capture avian life in often intimate settings that evoke a sublime equipoise between animal and

  1. Gladstone Gallery 515 W 24th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Thu Oct 30 - Sat Nov 8
More info

El Anatsui

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The Ghanaian artist returns to New York for the first time since his triumphant 2013 Brooklyn Museum survey with concurrent shows uptown at Mnuchin Gallery and downtown at Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea. On view will be the latest iterations of

  1. Mnuchin Gallery 45 E 78th St, between Madison and Park Aves, 10075
  2. Thu Oct 30 - Sat Dec 13
More info

Gedi Sibony

  • Critics choice
  • Free

For its sophomore exhibit in its ground-floor space, the gallery presents new work by this artist, whose sculptural style might be described as Neo-Arte Povera. Using such bits of detritus as cardboard and plastic sheeting, Sibony finds the

  1. Greene Naftali 508 W 26th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, ground and eighth floors
  2. Thu Oct 30 - Sat Nov 8
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 Guggeheim'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. Thu Oct 30 - Sat Dec 13
More info

Thomas Scheibitz, "Studio Imaginaire"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

On view are recent paintings, sculpture and drawings by this Berlin Neo-Modernist, whose works—which seem to reference the entire panoply of early-20th-century avant-garde art, from Mondrian to Surrealism—often resemble stage sets or abstracted

  1. Tanya Bonakdar Gallery 521 W 21st St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Thu Oct 30 - Sat Dec 20
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Hans Haacke

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Born in Cologne, Hans Haacke became a fixture of New York's Postminimalist/Conceptualist scene, emerging in the early 1960s with works that examined ephemeral phenomena like water condensation, or the effects of a fan on a balloon. He was interested

  1. Paula Cooper Gallery 521 W 21st St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Thu Oct 30 - Sat Nov 22
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David Humphrey, “Work and Play”

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

Over the past 25 years, Humphrey has been active as a writer and curator as well as an artist, known for strange, hybrid paintings and sculptures mixing figuration and abstraction with equal amounts of dexterity and panache. An artist’s artist, he

  1. Fredericks & Freiser 536 W 24th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Thu Oct 30 - Sat Nov 8
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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. Thu Oct 30 - Sat Jan 10
More info
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