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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With an art scene as prominent and ever-changing as New York’s, you don’t want to miss these essential exhibitions. From the best photography and art galleries to shows at NYC institutions like the Met, MoMA and the Guggenheim, Time Out rounds up the top five art shows of the week.

Monday, July 28–Sunday, August 3

1
Scipione Pulzone, Jacopo Boncompagni, 1574

Scipione Pulzone, Jacopo Boncompagni, 1574 Photograph: Michael Bodycomb; private collection; courtesy of Jean-Luc Baroni; Ltd.

"Men in Armor: El Greco and Pulzone Face to Face"

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Like knights of old, the subjects of these separate portraits by El Greco (1541–1614) and Scipione Pulzone (c. 1540/42–1598) seem to square off in a contrast of styles, resplendent in ceremonial armor that speaks to their status as military figures. Pulzone's portrait Jacopo Boncompagni depicts the commander of the papal army during the reign of Pope Gregory XIII, who was also Boncompagni's father (celibacy wasn't quite as celibate back then). El Greco's full-length rendering, Vincenzo Anastagi, shows the sergeant major of Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo, who served under Boncompagni. Though the two men were contemporaries, El Greco's composition, with its expressive brushwork and simplified background, seems startlingly modern compared to the refined treatment and formal pose of Pulzone's painting.

  1. The Frick Collection 1 E 70th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves
  2. Tue Aug 5 - Sun Oct 26
More info
2
Thomas Slaughter, Boy Scout Jack Knife, 2014

Thomas Slaughter, Boy Scout Jack Knife, 2014 Photograph: Courtesy the artist

"The Intuitionists"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

This group show takes its title and inspiration from Colson Whitehead's 1999 novel about a female elevator inspector who intuits the condition of elevators she's inspecting instead of measuring with instruments. It's a story "that explores the relationships between progress, technology and difference," the last point referring to the fact that the protagonist is not only the first female in her position but the first African-American. Organizers Heather Hart, Steffani Jemison and Jina Valentine have invited 60 artists to submit works that respond to some word or phrase in Colson's text, which are then hung in a sequence corresponding to the book. A visual précis, "The Intuitionists," explores the themes of its source in installation form.

  1. The Drawing Center 35 Wooster St, between Broome and Grand Sts
  2. Thu Jul 31
More info
3
Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #370: Ten Geometric Figures (including right triangle, cross, X, diamond) with three-inch parallel bands of lines in two directions, 1982

Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #370: Ten Geometric Figures (including right triangle, cross, X, diamond) with three-inch parallel bands of lines in two directions, 1982 Photograph: Courtesy of The Estate of Sol LeWitt

Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #370

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

In this particular mural, Lewitt (1928–2007) creates an Op-py Pop-y meditation in black-and-white on the basic geometric triad of square, circle and triangle. As always, the piece was executed on-site by a crew following a set of the artist's instructions.

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Ave, at 82nd St, 10028
  2. Wed Jul 30 - Mon Sep 29
More info
4
Keld Helmer-Petersen, Untitled, 1948,from the series "122 Color Photographs"

Keld Helmer-Petersen, Untitled, 1948,from the series "122 Color Photographs" Photograph: Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery

Keld Helmer-Petersen, "122 Color Photographs"

  • Critics choice

Although Williams Eggleston is generally credited for putting color photography on the fine-art map 45 years ago, there were pioneers of the form who preceded him, most startlingly Danish photographer Keld Helmer-Petersen (1920–2013). In the 1940s, he created a series of 122 photographic studies that were stunning in their formal elegance and way ahead of the curve in terms of color film as an artistic medium. His subjects were those usually ignored architectural details that populate our lives—the roofline of a gas station, a doorknob, a group of signposts on a road—all captured at angles that emphasized their abstract qualities, making the images seem more like paintings than photos. Overlooked in their own day, Keld Helmer-Petersen's photographs seem astoundingly contemporary 70 years on.

  1. Yossi Milo Gallery 245 Tenth Ave, between 24th and 25th Sts
  2. Tue Jul 29 - Fri Aug 29
More info
5
Christopher Williams, Kodak Three Point Reflection Guide / © 1968

Christopher Williams, Kodak Three Point Reflection Guide / © 1968 Photograph: Courtesy of the artist; David Zwirner; New York/London and Galerie Gisela Capitain; Cologne; © Christopher Williams

"Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness"

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Like Robert Heinecken, Williams came out of the West Coast as a photographer who deconstructed his medium through unconventional methods. In Williams's case, this has meant employing commercial photographers to create his works, images that dispassionately dismantle the mystique of the darkroom, the photographer's studio and the camera itself. The results often have the burnished look of midcentury catalogs for photographic services and equipment.

  1. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 11 W 53rd St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 10019
  2. Until Sun Nov 2
More info


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