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Art galleries, exhibitions and reviews of the latest and best art in New York

This giant new NYC mural is a tribute to the city's healthcare workers
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This giant new NYC mural is a tribute to the city's healthcare workers

New York City has a rich history of street art inspired by current events, and that's no less true for the crisis that's currently rocking the five boroughs. Artists have offered their responses to the pandemic by putting up posters, tagging walls and even drawing on curbside trash. But the largest example so far has to be a new 20,000-square-foot ground mural covering an entire parking lot in Queens. Located in Flushing Meadows/Corona Park between the Queens Museum and the New York State Pavilion, the piece is the handiwork of artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada and consists of a portrait of an ER doctor wearing PPE. Meant to stand in for the tens of thousands of lives lost to COVID-19, the image references a particular individual: Dr. Ydelfonso Decoo, one of the first medical professionals to succumb to the virus while battling the disease. He worked for SOMOS Community Care, a healthcare network comprised mainly of immigrant Latino and Chinese doctors treating patients in marginalized communities. Although the figure in Rodriguez-Gerada's rendering is mostly masked, his eyes are based on Dr. Decoo's.   Photograph: Courtesy GreenPoint Innovations   Rodriguez-Gerada is no stranger to working big: In 2008, he made a similar portrait of then-candidate Barack Obama out of 650 metric tons of sand and gravel on a Barcelona beach, while another of his creations—a 2014 homage to America's diversity for the National Mall in Washington, D.C.—was so large, it could been seen from space.

A major new outdoor summer art exhibition is coming to Queens
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A major new outdoor summer art exhibition is coming to Queens

Since NYC went into lockdown, it's been strange days for New York's art world, with gallery exhibits limited to online viewing rooms and museums confined to offering virtual tours. But now, with the prospect of the city slowly beginning to lift the quarantine, all of that may change. Indeed, you might say an upcoming exhibition slated for Queens's Socrates Sculpture Park is a harbinger of things to come. Remarkably, the outdoor art showcase in Long Island City has been opened all of this time, because, well, it's a park. However, Socrates was only showing works installed before the crisis. Now, it's is making up for lost time with a new exhibition series, under the rubric, "Momuments Now," that will take place over the summer and fall. It kicks of with a trio of artists—Jeffrey Gibson, Paul Ramírez Jonas and Xaviera Simmons—presenting large-scale objects that take the premise literally. Gibson's piece, for example, consists of 40ft x 40ft plywood ziggurat inspired by the pre-Columbian earthen mounds created by indigenous people in the Mississippi Valley during the 13th century. It will be covered in a skein of brightly-colored geometric patterns.   Photograph: Courtesy the artist and Socrates Sculpture Park   Ramírez Jonas, meanwhile, is creating a functional community grill in the form of towering obelisk.   Photograph: Courtesy the artist and Socrates Sculpture Park   Finally, Simmons's boxlike cenotaph frames texts culled from historical documents related to racial dis

This New York artist is producing timely work on discarded items around the city
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This New York artist is producing timely work on discarded items around the city

While the streets of New York City may have emptied since the start of the lockdown, street art has maintained an aggressive presence, spawning a new genre devoted to addressing the pandemic and how it's changed our lives.   Photograph: Courtesy Sara Erenthal   One artist of note in that vein is Sara Erenthal, a Brooklyn-based, self-taught artist whose work focuses on displacement, survival and liberation. "Art is my therapy," she tells Time Out, "I’m always creating art about my daily struggles, experiences and hopes, so my work naturally turned to the crisis as soon as it became a topic of conversation."   Photograph: Courtesy Sara Erenthal   Often appearing on objects discarded next to the curb (mattresses, appliances, pieces of furniture, etc.), her art depicts lone female figures above messages that range from public service-y ("Please wear a mask and practice social distancing") to heartfelt ("Can't wait for the day when I can hug you again"). This approach dates back to a habit of collecting canvases off the street to save money on art supplies. "One day I found a window that I wanted to take home and work on instead," she says, "but it was too heavy, so I drew on it and left it. Later, I learned a couple had picked it up, and since then I've been drawing on any object with a good surface."   Photograph: Courtesy Sara Erenthal   Going out in the middle of the crisis certainly entails risk, but Erenthal's says she feels compelled to pursue her work because it is "

The best NYC street art inspired by our surreal times
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The best NYC street art inspired by our surreal times

One of the big questions surrounding the "New Normal" is how will it affect life as we know it in the long term. In what ways will it transform how we work, how we vote and how we entertain ourselves? Will going to the movies, seeing a musical or dining at your favorite boîte ever be the same? And then there's the issue of art, which has already migrated to the web in the form of virtual tours and online viewings. But more important is how the content of art is going to change. Will the art world go back to business as usual, or will the current situation become a principal subject for artists and the curators and collectors who follow their lead? In the gallery world, this has yet to happen in any concerted fashion, though there have been some efforts to address the crisis. Street art, on the other hand, seems to be making a more noticeable pivot towards responding to Covid-19 and its fallout. This may be due to the fact that street art is historically rooted in the idea of being a guerrilla activity, nimble in execution and subversive in content. So it shouldn't be a surprise that here in New York, the city that gave birth to the graffiti movement, several examples of pandemic-related street art have been popping up around town. We picked out some especially eye-grabbing pieces, which you can check out below. View this post on Instagram Fancy stores are removing their stock and boarding up their windows in NYC. A post shared by Adrian Wilson's art page (@pla

Artist Rashid Johnson’s latest work ponders the limits of freedom
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Artist Rashid Johnson’s latest work ponders the limits of freedom

The youngest artist in the Studio Museum in Harlem’s seminal 2001 exhibition “Freestyle,” Rashid Johnson embraced curator Thelma Golden’s notion of “post-black” culture more than any other artist in that show. Fifteen years later, Johnson’s multimedia work has grown to encompass a wide range of everyday materials and objects while exploring diverse ways of expressing his experience as an African-American. Johnson sat down with Time Out New York to discuss his latest exhibition at Hauser & Wirth gallery in Chelsea (his biggest in New York to date), its theme of escape and how that relates to the arc of black history.       You’ve titled this show “Fly Away,” after the old spiritual about leaving the burdens of earthly existence behind. Why that song?I’ve always been interested in the desire to escape and how it operates historically. Black Americans have had a complicated relationship with the idea, both in the North and the South, whether it was Marcus Garvey saying, “Let’s go back to Africa,” or Sun Ra claiming he’s from Saturn. Then there’s the writer Paul Beatty suggesting somewhat facetiously that all blacks should commit suicide as a way of getting off the plantation. How has that idea related to your life?Not just to my life. We all think these things, and we all have this feeling as young people of being in limbo, thinking, Where can I go? What am I searching for? We’re all looking to escape some facet of how complicated our lives are. That was certainly true when I w

What's on view at NYC museums

Best exhibitions, current and upcoming, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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Best exhibitions, current and upcoming, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Best exhibitions, current and upcoming, at the Guggenheim Museum
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Best exhibitions, current and upcoming, at the Guggenheim Museum

The best current and upcoming MoMA exhibits
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The best current and upcoming MoMA exhibits

Current exhibits at the Whitney Museum of American Art
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Current exhibits at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Must-see art exhibitions

The best art shows and exhibits in NYC
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The best art shows and exhibits in NYC

The best free art exhibitions in NYC
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The best free art exhibitions in NYC

The best museum exhibitions in NYC right now
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The best museum exhibitions in NYC right now

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Best art galleries in New York

The best Chelsea art galleries
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The best Chelsea art galleries

The best Lower East Side art galleries
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The best Lower East Side art galleries

Best photography galleries in NYC
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Best photography galleries in NYC

The best Brooklyn art galleries
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The best Brooklyn art galleries

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Latest art news

See the new outdoor art coming to the High Line in April
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See the new outdoor art coming to the High Line in April

Besides being one of the coolest attractions in New York, the High Line is also of the the biggest showcases for outdoor art in the city. Every spring, the High Line picks an international roster of artists to create site-specific sculptures for the elevated structure to go along with its the views of Chelsea and the Hudson Yards.   Hannah Levy, Retainer, 2020 Photograph: Courtesy the High Line   The commissions include individual works, and as well thematically organized pieces situated throughout the park. The former includes a mural by Jordan Casteel located at 22nd Street, which has been up since the beginning of the year, and two new additions by Hannah Levy and Ibrahim Mahama, respectively. Levy's work is titled Retainer and it is just that: An oversize rendering of an orthodontic appliance made of carved marble and stainless steel; it'll be taking up a spot at 23rd Street. Mahama, meanwhile is presenting 57 Forms of Liberty, which consists of an inverted industrial tank from an old factory, sprouting a tree—an idea inspired by a rusted smokestack the artist saw in Ghana, which likewise served as a mini arboretum. You'll find it at Northern Spur Preserve by 16th Street.   Ibrahim Mahama, 57 Forms of Liberty, 2020 Photograph: Courtesy the High Line   This year's theme show is titled The Musical Brain and aims to explores "how music can be used as a tool to inhabit and understand the world." Eight artists—Rebecca Belmore,Vivian Caccuri, Raúl de Nieves, Guillermo Galin

Works by internationally renowned artists are coming to LaGuardia Airport's Terminal B
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Works by internationally renowned artists are coming to LaGuardia Airport's Terminal B

If you pull your luggage through LaGuardia Airport's shiny, new Terminal B Arrivals and Departures Hall when it opens later this year, you'll see major installations designed by internationally-recognized artists that will "express the creative spirit of New York." The Public Art Fund on Thursday announced that it has partnered with LaGuardia Gateway Partners to commission four art installations inside the new terminal's Arrivals and Departures Hall. The Public Art Fund selected Jeppe Hein, Sabine Hornig, Laura Owens, and Sarah Sze out of a group of creatives who developed proposals for original and iconic artworks for the terminal. While the chosen artists have been featured at museums around the world, they have also all had artwork shown here in New York: Jeppe Hein, a resident of Berlin, recently had his piece, Please Touch the Art, displayed at the Brooklyn Bridge Park in 2015. Sabine Hornig, also based in Berlin, has had her work, Projects 78, featured at The Museum of Modern Art. Laura Owens from Los Angeles has been featured at the Guggenheim, MoMA, and the Whitney. Sarah Sze, who lives in NYC, is a professor of visual arts at Columbia University and recently unveiled her work at the new Second Avenue subway line's 96th Street Station called Blueprint for a Landscape. Jeppe Hein, Laura Owens, Sabine Honig and Sarah Sze Photographs: Courtesy Tom-Wagner, Noah Webb, Sabine Honig and Sarah Sze The initial portion of Terminal B (the new eastern concourse that opened in 20

Follow love stories at this massive exhibit coming to a Brooklyn warehouse
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Follow love stories at this massive exhibit coming to a Brooklyn warehouse

If anything deserves a massive exhibition, it's love! Open now through March 31, A Romantic Comedy, showcases 50 works by 28 international and local artists all about the ambiguities of romance—and it's set across the 16,000-square-foot Williamsburg warehouse called 25 Kent. The show is curated by Sophia Sobers and Steven Pestana and told over three parts that create a narrative, pulling in topics like courtship, domesticity, online dating and workplace dynamics in a whimsical, fantastical (and sometimes confusing) way, without the Hollywood cliches. Photograph: Andrew Allison While you're there, make sure to find the following: Amanda Nedham's life-sized bathtub made of paper, a recreation of Paul Manafort's Brooklyn home foyer that's made with actual sales flyers left on his doorstep (all by Kyle Hittmeier), and Amanda Thackray's pinky-red mesh Caul Veil that echoes the webs we weave in our relationships. The show's curators, Sobers and Pestana, have exhibited art for the Rubin Museum, the Knockdown Center, the Spring/Break Art Show, BRIC, the Museum of American Art and more. You can find out more at Wallplay.com. A Romantic Comedy is at 25 Kent Avenue through March 31, Wednesdays through Sundays from 11am to 7pm.  

See this art installation transform a Times Square lobby into a garden party
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See this art installation transform a Times Square lobby into a garden party

If there’s one thing you could say about Times Square, it's that it’s stimulating—maybe a little too stimulating. Everywhere, giant flagship stores lure shoppers with visual theatrics, while five-story high digital billboards bombard you with ads for everything from Broadway musicals to Asian news agencies (though why tourists would be interested in the latter is anyone’s guess). But it has ever been thus: Almost from the beginning, Times Square has been dominated by noise, traffic—and especially by flashing, repeated messaging. Now, a new installation by artist and architect Aaron Pexa promises to provide a break from all that sensory overload. Taking up the lobby of 10 Times Square, Pexa's work is called Garden Party and combines floral wallpaper inspired by the building’s Art Deco interior with neon and back-lit sculptures. But Garden Party's main attraction is a mesmerizing, 20-minute video titled, I Wander the Forest in Search of Mystery. A surreal sequence that looks like it's been shot through gauze, I Wander the Forest features a crystal chandelier sparkling in the midday sun as it lazily twirls above a clearing by a lake. Every now and then, billowing clouds of colored smoke pass through the frame, obscuring the dreamlike mise-én-scene. Photograph: Zdravko Cota Pexa describes his effort as an escape from the strobing, quick-cut editing of the signage environment outside, and indeed, the installation title and its 1920s-style touches evoke nothing so much as a roma

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Best museums in New York

Whitney Museum of American Art
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Whitney Museum of American Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
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Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The American Museum of Natural History
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The American Museum of Natural History

See more New York museums

Most popular art news

The best museums in NYC
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The best museums in NYC

New York City's cultural amenities are many, but none quite match the number, scale and variety of its museums. There is literally an institution for every interest, whether it’s in art, history, science or quirkier subjects. The Metropolitan Museum, for instance, shelters 5,000 years of art history under its roof with a collection that runs the gamut from Stone Age objects to the latest examples of contemporary art. And speaking of the latter, there’s a host of institutions dedicated to cutting-edge art, from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of Art to the New Museum and MoMA, which re-opened in 2019 after a significant expansion of its space, and a total rethink of its mission. There are dozens of other types of museums, too, some of which are encyclopedic (The American Museum Of Natural History), or focused on specific categories, such as NYC history (The New-York Historical and The Museum of the City of New York), architecture (the Skyscraper Museum), photography (International Center of Photography Museum), film (Museum of the Moving Image), sex (Museum of Sex), and even the subway (New York Transit Museum). And, of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, even if you don’t count all of the other museums in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Is it a lot to take in? Certainly. But if you want find a museum with your name on it, look no further than our complete guide to the best museums in NYC, complete with highlights of current exhibitions at each.

Five everyday sculptures you see in NYC, explained
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Five everyday sculptures you see in NYC, explained

Ever wondered what's the story behind NYC's ubiquitous outdoor monuments

Check out the top 25 sculptures at MoMA
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Check out the top 25 sculptures at MoMA

Take our tour of the works that wrote the book on modern and contemporary art in 3-D

The 100 best paintings in New York
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The 100 best paintings in New York

Leading artists, gallery owners, curators and critics pick the best paintings to be seen in NYC

New York art in pictures

The top 50 New York photographs
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The top 50 New York photographs

We round up iconic depictions of NYC moments high and low

Mary Ellen Mark’s best NYC street photography
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Mary Ellen Mark’s best NYC street photography

To honor Mark and her work, we take a look back at her most stunning New York-set shots

See photos from Justin Bettman’s amazing #SetintheStreet
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See photos from Justin Bettman’s amazing #SetintheStreet

Get your photograph taken at this Times Square installation

See classic photos of the Lower East Side’s ‘90s squatter population
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See classic photos of the Lower East Side’s ‘90s squatter population

Ash Thayer’s photos of a Bohemian Manhattan reveal New York life in an edgier time