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, October 20–Sunday, October 26

Bob and Roberta Smith, Artists Ruin it For Everyone, 2002

Bob and Roberta Smith, Artists Ruin it For Everyone, 2002 Courtesy the artist and Pierogi

"MoMA PS1 and Bob & Roberta Smith Invite You to Throw Your Art Away"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Are you an artist who's finally had it with being ignored by the art world? Are you someone who has been given a work of art that you know perfectly well is without value, and may even be ugly as far as you're concerned? Are you an artist who's actually successful to some degree, but are embarrassed by an earlier work? Well, London's Bob and Roberta Smith (a.k.a. Patrick Brill) have a solution. Dumpsters in MoMA PS1's courtyard are being provided for all of the above and more to dispose of their art. For those having a hard time letting go, you can bring in your work to display in the second-floor gallery. The catch is that you must sign a pledge saying you never want to see the work again; if you prefer to up the ante, you can also promise to never make art again. If you opt for the latter, you get an official "I am no longer an artist" badge. Committing career suicide has never sounded so fun.

  1. MoMA PS1 22-25 Jackson Ave, at 46th Ave
  2. Sun Oct 26 - Sun Mar 8
More info
Chris Ofili, Triple Beam Dreamer, 2001–02

Chris Ofili, Triple Beam Dreamer, 2001–02 Courtesy the artist

“Chris Ofili: Night and Day”

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Chris Ofili is still remembered for the Brooklyn Museum's 1999 “Sensation” exhibition and the painting he included: a portrait of the Madonna, adorned with a ball of elephant dung. The piece ignited a shit storm of controversy and received ringing condemnation from former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who threatened to defund the museum. Of course, Ofili has done so much more than that single painting, as this New Museum retrospective, the artist's first in the U.S., amply demonstrates. On view is the full gamut of the Afro-British artist's career, including paintings, drawings and sculpture, all of them revealing a lush aesthetic that draws on Ofili's African roots and his fascination with pop culture.

  1. New Museum of Contemporary Art 235 Bowery, at Prince St
  2. Wed Oct 29 - Wed Dec 31
More info

© Knut Bry and Ekebergeparken Oslo

Marina Abramovic, Generator

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The artist will not be present in her latest piece, at least as a performer. Instead, visitors are invited to don blindfolds and noise canceling headphones, and enter the otherwise empty gallery where they can feel their way around until they're ready to leave. Upon exiting, they'll find a station where they can record their reactions, which will be posted online.

  1. Sean Kelly Gallery 475 Tenth Ave, between 36th and 37th Sts, 10018
  2. Fri Oct 24 - Sat Dec 6
More info
V.S. Gaitonde, Untitled, 1962

V.S. Gaitonde, Untitled, 1962 Anil Rane; collection of Kiran Nadar; New Delhi; © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; New York

"V.S. Gaitonde: Painting as Process, Painting as Life"

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Over the past 20 years, contemporary artists from India have become significant players in the global art market, so it's only natural that Western institutions would begin to explore the context from which they emerged. Enter this Guggenheim retrospective of painter Vasudeo Santu Gaitonde (1924–2001). Gaitonde started as a figurative painter, channeling Indian tradition through modernist templates brought to the subcontinent by the British. By the mid-1960s, his style had evolved into abstraction. After a 1964 Rockefeller fellowship in New York, where he was exposed to the work of Mark Rothko, he began to create vertically formated, all-over compositions ranging from burnt orange to deep green. These sometimes included glyphlike motifs, suspended between past and present to evoke ancient tablets or batik fabrics illuminated by the light from India's skies, seas and jungles.

  1. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Ave, at 89th St, 10128
  2. Fri Oct 24 - Wed Dec 31
More info
Judith Scott, Untitled, 2004

Judith Scott, Untitled, 2004 The Smith-Nederpelt Collection

"Judith Scott—Bound and Unbound"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

What is it finally that defines art, that elusive term that lifts the mere fact of creation to an act of genius? That's been the challenge posed by self-taught artists. The work of Judith Scott (1943–2005)—a deaf and functionally mute person with Down syndrome who spent most of her life in institutions for the disabled—offers a fascinating example. Unlike the work of many outsiders, her sculptures aren't visionary: They're process pieces involving a highly disciplined yet improvisational approach of wrapping yarn and other fibers around found objects. The resulting mummylike forms rival anything produced by contemporary sculptors. This museum retrospective, her first, doesn't just present an opportunity to consider her astounding accomplishments: It further blurs the boundary between artistic insider and outsider.

  1. Brooklyn Museum 200 Eastern Pkwy, at Washington Ave
  2. Fri Oct 24 - Sun Mar 29
More info

Users say

Jeff W
Jeff W

Cocktail gallery reception in Tribeca tonight for my work..for those interested.