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

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, May 18–Sunday, May 24

“The Roof Garden Commission: Pierre Huyghe”

Critics' pick

Pierre Huyghe, a French artist know for poetic projects that encompass video, sculpture and landscaping, has transformed the Met’s rooftop into a mystical, Huy installation—a kind of archaeological excavation of that metaphorical place where the interaction between culture and nature makes the natural world seem unnatural. Segments of the roof’s paving stones have been pried off, stacked to the side like lids from freshly exhumed sarcophagi. Nearby, a large aquarium features a boulder inexplicably floating in a tableaux that periodically assumes a milky opacity, as if someone suddenly flipped a switch to hide the scene. The piece goes back and forth like that, alternately obscuring and revealing the contents within—an enigmatic, even unsettling, reminder that all is not what it seems.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art Until Monday November 2 2015

Leon Golub, “Riot”

Critics' pick

A dedicated leftist throughout his life, the indomitable Golub (1922–2004) railed against injustice and political oppression with fiercely Expressionistic paintings created with an equally ferocious technique of applying paint, then scraping it away at with a meat clever. Soldiers in Vietnam, mercenaries and members of the secret police made up the cast of characters in his compositions, which dealt with atrocities, including depictions of torture long before anyone heard of Abu Ghraib. Late in his life, these themes took an allegorical direction, but there was no mistaking their meaning.  This show offers a selection of paintings and works on paper from all phases of his illustrious career. 

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Hauser & Wirth New York Until Saturday June 20 2015 Free

“#RAWHIDE”

This exhibition of western and cowboy-themed art from the 19th century to the present is bound to make you yell, Yee-haw! Co-curators  Dylan Brant and Vivian Brodie delve into the pervasiveness of cowboy mythology in American culture, with works that run the gamut from sincere celebration to jaundiced satire. And of course, the homoerotic subtext of frontier machismo is made text in several works. Robert Mapplethorpe, Richard Prince and Andy Warhol are among the 35 artists shooting it out in this OK Coral of a show. 

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Venus Over Manhattan Tue May 19 - Sat Jul 11 Free

Lee Ufan

This Korean artist, who divides his time between Kamakura, Japan and Paris, France was one of the founders of the Japanese Mono-ha school, which filtered Minimalist aesthetics through Japan’s tradition of animism and the formal restraint in found cultural expressions as rock gardens, bonsai trees tea ceremonies, etc. Ufan, who believes object possess a sort of consciousness, often juxtaposes boulders and steel plates as a feature of his sculptural installations. His paintings, meanwhile, are made up of single huge brushstrokes of blended color applied to equally large, though otherwise empty, backgrounds. His latest sculptures and paintings are presented here.

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Pace Gallery Until Saturday June 27 2015 Free

Yayoi Kusama, “Give Me Love”

Critics' pick

Celebrated for her hallucinatory dot paintings and mirrored rooms, Kusama returns to Chelsea with new variations on her recent themes. A series of brightly-colored acrylic canvases continue the sort of folk/outsider art vibe that’s been a feature of her paintings over the past five years. There are more of her polka-dotted pumpkin sculptures, this time in stainless steel. In lieu of painted dots, some are riddled with swiss-cheese holes revealing interiors painted a single vibrant hue. The highlight of the show is an all-white room containing pieces of furniture painted to match. Visitors are encouraged to apply differently sized colored stickers provided by the artist (dots, naturally) on whatever surface they choose, with the idea of visually “obliterating” the piece over the course of the show.

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David Zwirner Until Saturday June 13 2015 Free

Comments

8 comments
Jeff W
Jeff W

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