Ten fall art exhibitions to see

TONY offers its top ten picks of museum shows this fall.

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  • Photograph: National Gallery of Victoria; Melbourne; © Balthus

    Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski), Nude with Cat, 1949

  • Photograph: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Los Angeles; CA; Digital Image © 2013 Museum Associates/LACMA; licensed by Art Resource; NY

    René Magritte, La trahison des images (Ceci n’est pas une pipe) (The Treachery of Images [This is Not a Pipe]), 1929

  • Robert Motherwell

    Robert Motherwell, Pancho Villa, Dead and Alive, 1943

  • Photograph: The Museum of Contemporary Art; Los Angeles

    Chris Burden, Big Wheel, 1979

  • Photograph: Courtesy of and © Mariko Mori

    Mariko Mori, Tom Na H-iu, 2006

  • Photograph: Digital Image ¬© The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource; NY / ¬© Artres; The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection Gift

    Wangechi Mutu, Yo Mama. 2003.

  • Photograph: Mauritshuis; The Hague

    Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, c. 1665

  • Photograph: ©Art Spiegelman

    Art Spiegelman

  • Photograph: Collection Charles Asprey; courtesy the artist and Galerie Buchholz; Cologne/Berlin; © Isa Genzken

    Isa Genzken Hospital (Ground Zero), 2008

  • Photograph: Joshua White/JWPictures.com; courtesy of Perry Rubenstein Gallery; Los Angeles

    Mike Kelley, Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites, 1991–1999

Photograph: National Gallery of Victoria; Melbourne; © Balthus

Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski), Nude with Cat, 1949

Autumn is nearly here, which means rich pickings for museum-goers as the city’s institutions crank up their fall slate of shows. There is lots to see, as usual, but to help you make sense of it all, TONY presents this curated selection of the top ten must-see museum exhibits.

“Balthus: Cats and Girls—Paintings and Provocations”

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Balthus (neé Balthasar Klossowski, 1908–2001) was one of the most controversial figurative painters of the 20th Century, an artist notorious for frankly erotic (if not somewhat pervy) full-length renderings of Lolita-esque subjects. His obsession with pre-teen female sexuality translated into to vaguely unnerving images, which were more redolent of thanatos than of eros. This show, the first major Balthus exhibition in the U.S. in 30 years features 35 canvases, dating from the mid-1930s to the 1950s.

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Ave, at 82nd St, 10028
  2. Wed Sep 25 - Sun Jan 12
More info

“Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938”

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

One of the titanic names of 20th art—and certainly one of the most popular and recognizable—René Magritte (1898–1967) is synonymous with a specific vision in which our experience of the ordinary is thrown into doubt, and real life seems invaded by dreams. The uncanny effect of his work was due precisely to the fact that Magritte, as painter, stuck tightly to realist script in order to upend the conventions of realism. This retrospective focuses on the years 1925 to 1938, the period when he developed his iconic style, which whatever its continued appeal, spoke eloquently of its time: the uneasy interlude between world wars.

  1. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 11 W 53rd St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 10019
  2. Sat Sep 28 - Sun Jan 12
More info

"Robert Motherwell: Early Collages"

  • Price band: 2/4

Although somewhat younger (and WASPier) then the Abstract Expressionists he associated with, Robert Motherwell was a noted figure of The New York School (a term which he, in fact, coined), thanks largely to his role in introducing his peers to “automatic” drawing—a concept he’d picked up from the Surrealists on his travels to Europe. Painterly free association, coupled with existentialism, thus became the linchpin of AbEx, though Motherwell’s own work was defined more by formal stylishness than by strum und drang. While Motherwell produced large canvases, the collages he created throughout his career were particularly beautiful and elegant. The Gugg offers up a choice selection from the first decade of his output, during the years in which he helped to lay the foundation for New York’s art world ascendancy.

  1. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1071 Fifth Ave, at 89th St, 10128
  2. Fri Sep 27 - Sun Jan 5
More info

"Chris Burden: Extreme Measures"

  • Price band: 2/4

The New Mu gives over its entire building to this first major New York survey of legendary L.A. artist Chris Burden, who emerged in the early 1970s as the enfant terrible of performance art. He had himself shot in the arm, for example, and once used the back of VW bug as the cross for his self-crucifixion. Over the ensuing decades, he moved into creating complicated sculptural objects and installations, such as a built-from-scratch automobile and a toy-model metropolis, featuring miniature freeways teeming with tiny cars zipping by at breakneck speeds. This show covers it all, offering New Yorkers a rare comprehensive look at one of the most innovative artists of the past 40 years.

  1. New Museum of Contemporary Art 235 Bowery, at Prince St
  2. Wed Oct 2 - Sun Jan 12
More info

"Rebirth: Recent Work by Mariko Mori"

  • Price band: 1/4

Buddhism, Shintoism, sci-fi and anime have been some of the inspirations for Mariko Mori, the Japanese artist-turned-model whose works since the early 1990s have combined elements of all three into otherworldly photos, videos and installations. This shows focuses on Mori’s efforts over the past ten years, including a series of light sculptures, stemming from the artist’s interest in various megalith-building cultures that existed in Japan and Europe some 10,000 years ago.

  1. Japan Society 333 E 47th St, between First and Second Aves, 10017
  2. Fri Oct 11 - Sun Jan 12
More info

"Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Although she employs a number of artistic mediums, Wangechi Mutu—a Kenya transplant to Brooklyn via Yale—is best-known for large-scale collages on Mylar, depicting chimerical female figures that are part plant, part animal and part human. Created from bits and pieces of fashion, lifestyle, automotive and pornographic magazines, these works and others have earned Mutu a sizable international reputation during the past two decades, and evince a flamboyant aesthetic informed by topics such as feminism, globalism and multiculturalism. This show is her first mid-career survey in the U.S., and covers her work from the mid-1990s to the present.

  1. Brooklyn Museum 200 Eastern Pkwy, at Washington Ave
  2. Fri Oct 11 - Sun Mar 9
More info

"Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals: Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Thanks to a two-year renovation of the Netherlands’s magnificent Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague, New Yorkers have a once in a lifetime opportunity to feast their eyes  on the some of the greatest available for advanced purchase on the Frick’s website. Don’t wait to get them—this show is the one of the biggest cultural events of fall.

  1. The Frick Collection 1 E 70th St, between Fifth and Madison Aves
  2. Tue Oct 22 - Sun Jan 19
More info

"Art Spiegelman's Co-Mix: A Retrospective"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

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.

  1. The Jewish Museum 1109 Fifth Ave, at 92nd St, 10128
  2. Fri Nov 8 - Sun Mar 23
More info

"Isa Genzken: Retrospective"

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Born in 1948, Isa Genzken is one most prominent figures within the postwar generation of German artists, and one of the most influential female artists working today. If New York art audiences are familiar with her output at all, it’s been probably been through the works she has produced during past 10 years or so, which have mainly consisted of surreal sculptural assemblages and installations that vividly aggregate painting, found objects (toys, strollers, suitcases, backpacks, dolls, wheelchairs, umbrellas and houseplants among them) images, fabrics, textiles and other materials such as colored streamers, mylar sheets and tinted Plexiglas. Her best known work here is probably the gigantic rose she created for the facade of the New Museum. Prolific as she’s been in recent years, this production only scratches the surface of a four-decade career that has brought a sharply incisive, post-feminist perspective on our globalist society and the way that culture functions within it.

  1. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) 11 W 53rd St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 10019
  2. Sat Nov 23 - Mon Mar 10
More info

Mike Kelley

  • Price band: 1/4

Mike Kelley (1954–2012) was one of the true greats of recent American art, whose provocative and multi-layered output commented upon and critiqued numerous facets of contemporary life—including popular culture, sex, religion, and the persistent of class in a supposedly classless society. Although Kelley was an internationally recognized fixture of the Los Angeles art scene, the energy and anger in his work ultimately drew upon his upbringing as the son of a janitor in Detroit. Working in a diverse range of mediums—painting, drawings, sculpture, performance, music, video, photography and video—Kelley was arguably the most original and influential artists of his generation, until suicide tragically cut short his career. This retrospective at MoMA PS1, is the largest and most comprehensive survey of his work to date, and for the first time in 25 years, the museum is devoting its entire building to a single artist. A show not to be missed.

  1. MoMA PS1 22-25 Jackson Ave, at 46th Ave
  2. Sun Oct 13 - Sun Feb 2
More info


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