Top five shows: Nov 7–13, 2013

The best of the week in art.

Photograph: © Louie Palu

“WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath”
Brooklyn Museum, Fri 8–Dec 31
The relationship between war and photography—including the very dangerous business of combat photography—is the subject of this survey, covering 166 years of military history.

Photograph: Tim Nighswander/IMAGING4ART

Willem de Kooning, “Ten Paintings, 1983-1985”
Gagosian Gallery, Fri 8–Dec 21
The pieces in this show date from a period in De Kooning’s career when he radically overhauled his approach to painting, consolidating his familiarly furious brushwork into a style that resembled nothing so much as a reductive, schematic code for his previous practice. It was around this same time that the artist began his slide into Alzheimer’s, and there has been some debate as to how much the disease affected his art. For this reason, these canvases have often been dismissed or unfavorably compared with his earlier work. Yet there remains something undeniably compelling about these compositions, which are arguably analogous to the cutout nudes that Matisse undertook toward the end of his life. This show is organized by MoMA curator emeritus John Elderfield, who also put together the Modern’s spectacular De Kooning survey in 2011.

Photograph: Courtesy Pace Gallery

Raqib Shaw, “Paradise Lost”
Pace Gallery, Fri 8–Dec 21
East meets West in the work of this London artist, who originally hails from India, and whose sumptuous, jewel-and-enamel inlaid paintings and intricately detailed sculptures combine numerous traditions and canons—including Indian miniatures and textiles, Old Master painting, Orientalism and Surrealism. His works might be best described as visions of paradise being invaded by the forces of hell. It’s a strange mix that plays upon our notions of exoticism while sending them up. For his debut at Pace, the artist fills all three of the gallery’s Chelsea locations.

Photograph: Courtesy David Zwirner

Yayoi Kusama, “I Who Have Arrived in Heaven”
David Zwirner, Fri 8–Dec 21
Kusama brings her signature dot paintings and mirrored infinity rooms to Zwirner for the first time since joining the gallery after jumping ship from Gagosian. Some 30 new canvases are on view along with two infinity rooms, including some made expressly for this show. As usual for this artist, the results are a trip.

Photograph: © 1989 by Art Spiegelman courtes

“Art Spiegelman’s Co-Mix: A Retrospective”
The Jewish Museum, Fri 8–Mar 23
Spiegelman, who did more than anyone to legitimize the graphic novel with his Holocaust-themed classic, Maus, gets the retrospective treatment, with a survey that includes hundreds of original drawings spanning his groundbreaking career, from his late-1960s days as part of the underground comix movement to his work on some of The New Yorker’s most compelling and controversial covers.