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, September 15–Sunday, September 21

1
Mike Kelley, Reconstructed History, 1989

Mike Kelley, Reconstructed History, 1989 Photograph: © The Estate of Mike Kelley/Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts; courtesy Skarstedt

"Mike Kelley: Reconstructed History"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

It goes without saying that Kelley (1954–2012) had a jaundiced view of pretty much everything. In this group of works, he sends up U.S. history by defacing textbook illustrations of the founding fathers, etc., with doodles such as penises, swastikas and pigs' noses. Seen from the perspective of the unmotivated student at the back of the class, the images offer a piquant comment on American exceptionalism.

  1. Skarstedt Gallery 550 W 21st St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 10011
  2. Until Sat Oct 25
More info
2
Charles Long

Charles Long Photograph: courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

Charles Long, "Up Land"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

For more than 20 years, Long has investigated the plastic possibilities of sculptural form, meaning and materials, creating works out of coffee grounds, for example, or basing them on the phantasmagoric content of 19th-century "spirit" photographs. In this show, he alludes to cosmology and delves into the 5,000-year-old process of bronze casting with pieces that deliberately retain their sprues (thin tubes that channel liquid metal into a mold, which are usually removed from the cast).

  1. Tanya Bonakdar Gallery 521 W 21st St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves
  2. Until Sat Oct 18
More info
3
Mika Tajima, Total Body Conditionin,  2014

Mika Tajima, Total Body Conditionin, 2014 Photograph: courtesy the artist and Eleven Rivington

Mika Tajima, "Total Body Conditioning"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Tajima could be described as a social colorist: Bright hues often dominate his work, but so does a fascination with the things and cultural mechanisms that affect the body and its relationship to daily experience. Those interests come together in this show, featuring three new series, including a group of hot tubs mounted to the wall like paintings.

  1. Art in General 79 Walker St, between Broadway and Lafayette St, sixth floor, 10013
  2. Until Sat Oct 25
More info
4
Jenny Holzer PRESENTLY IN THE UNITED STATES, 2014

Jenny Holzer PRESENTLY IN THE UNITED STATES, 2014 Photograph: © Jenny Holzer;  member Artists Rights Society (ARS); NY. Courtesy Cheim & Read; New York.

Jenny Holzer, "Dust Paintings"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

For the past several years, Holzer has been creating a series of paintings sourced from redacted government documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. She bases her latest show on accounts related to the use of "enhanced interrogation" (i.e., torture) by the U.S. military and the CIA on detainees captured during the War on Terror. Heavily censored, the files feature large areas of blacked-out text, and by playing upon their abstract shapes, Holzer draws a line connecting art history to the deep state.

  1. Cheim & Read 547 W 25th St, between Tenth and Eleventh Aves, 10001
  2. Until Sat Oct 25
More info
5
David Benjamin Sherry, Sympathetic Flesh, (David), Los Angeles, California, 2014

David Benjamin Sherry, Sympathetic Flesh, (David), Los Angeles, California, 2014 Photograph: courtesy Salon 94

David Benjamin Sherry, "Climate Vortex Sutra"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Sherry's photographs transform the familiar into the alien by saturating otherwise prosaic landscape scenes in deep acid hues to create brilliant monochrome compositions. Deserts, mountains, forests, etc., are rendered as if they were taken by something like the Mars rover or the Huygens probe on Saturn's moon, Titan. The aim, according to Sherry, is to measure the deleterious impact on the environment by the effects of the anthropocene, the geological term for the era of human existence. Sherry has also done figure studies and stills lifes, and they're included in his latest show, which also introduces his use of black-and-white for the first time.

  1. Salon 94 Bowery 243 Bowery, at Stanton St, 10002
  2. Until Sat Oct 25
More info


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