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Best art in New York: Critics' picks

Find the best art exhibitions and gallery shows in NYC this week, as chosen by Time Out's critics.

Photograph: © 2018 Successió  Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
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Best art in New York: Critics' picks

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Simone Fattal, Man and his shadow, 2009
Photograph: Courtesy the artist and kaufmann repetto, Milan, New York; Balice Hertling, Paris; Karma International, Zurich
Art, Contemporary art

Simone Fattal

icon-location-pin MoMA PS1, Long Island City
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In her first solo museum show, Lebanese-American artist Simone Fattal presents ceramic sculptures, paintings and collages spanning her 40-year career. An amalgam of figurative and abstract art, Fattal’s work often deals with the issue of war and is inspired by ancient history, mythology and Sufi poetry.

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Gina Beavers, Smoky Eye Tutorial, 2014
Photograph: Courtesy MoMA PS1
Art, Contemporary art

Gina Beavers

icon-location-pin MoMA PS1, Long Island City
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This artist’s paintings have been described as visceral, vexing and often grotesque. In a nutshell, her art is a kind of a punk-rock version of Marilyn Minter’s. This exhibition represents the artist’s first solo in a museum.

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Jeremy Scott, ensemble for House of Moschino, spring/summer 2018
Photograph: © Johnny Dufort, 2019, courtesy The Metropolitan Museumof Art
Art, Design

“Camp: Notes On Fashion”

icon-location-pin The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park
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Inspired by Susan Sontag’s seminal 1964 essay, “Notes on ‘Camp,’” The Met Costume Institute examines the spread of the camp aesthetic from its largely gay, subcultural roots to its acceptance by the mainstream. Often characterized by an ironic appropriation of things associated with bad taste (like kitsch), camp was first cited as a term in 1909, when its connotations were decidedly more negative. However, by the 1970s, camp became synonymous with cutting-edge sophistication, and it wasn’t long before fashion designers adapted it for haute couture and ready-to-wear clothing. Examples of both can be found in this show of outfits that reference the more outré reaches of pop culture while also making knowing asides about the nature of fashion itself.  

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Photograph: Kristopher McKay, © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Art, Contemporary art

“Artistic License: Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection”

icon-location-pin Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Upper East Side
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For this deep dive into the Guggenheim’s holdings of 20th-century art, curatorial duties are being handed over to six artists—Paul Chan, Cai Guo-Qiang, Jenny Holzer, Julie Mehretu, Richard Prince and Carrie Mae Weems—who’ve had previous solo shows at the Gugg. Some 100 paintings, sculptures and works on paper will chart the course of modernism, from the avant-garde energy of its early days to the fin de sciecle weariness of its closing chapters, through the differing perspectives of each artist.

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Photograph: Courtesy The Jewish Museum
Art, Contemporary art

“Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything”

icon-location-pin The Jewish Museum, Central Park
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An international cast of contemporary artists pay homage to legendary novelist, poet and singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen (1934–2016) with works inspired by his music and writings—both of which made “urgent observations on the state of the human heart.” The proceedings include commissioned works, along with a video projection of Cohen’s own drawings and a multi-media gallery playing covers of Cohen’s songs by Feist, Moby and The National with Sufjan Stevens.

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Emma Amos, Baby, 1966
Photograph: Whitney Museum of American Art, © Emma Amos, courtesy the artist and Ryan Lee Gallery, New York
Art, Contemporary art

“Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s”

icon-location-pin Whitney Museum of American Art, Meatpacking District
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During the 1960s and ’70s, a group of painters began to use bold, saturated hues, employing what was then a new medium: acrylic pigment. Colorfield, hard-edged abstraction and Op Art were among the genres that emerged as a result, along with a neo-Fauvist approach to figurative Expressionism, whose adherents notably included a number women and African-Americans exploring gender and race in their work. Drawn on the Whitney’s collection, this show re-visits this colorful era in postmodern art.

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Mrinalini Mukherjee, Vanshree, 1994
Photograph: Courtesy Nature Morte, New Delhi
Art, Contemporary art

“Phenomenal Nature: Mrinalini Mukherjee”

icon-location-pin The Met Breuer, Lenox Hill
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A sculptor who often used hemp fiber as a medium, Indian artist Mrinalini Mukherjee (1949–2015) wasn’t very well known in this country, which probably explains why this exhibit represents the first comprehensive survey of her work in the United States. Her abstracted forms, which combined figurative elements with those inspired by nature, were woven intuitively, without benefit of preparatory studies. These spontaneous creations form the backbone of this show, which also displays example of Mukherjee’s efforts in ceramic and bronze.

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Alicja Kwade, ParaPivot, 2019
Hyla Skopitz, courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Art, Contemporary art

“The Roof Garden Commission: Alicja Kwade, ParaPivot”

icon-location-pin The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park
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Alicja Kwade, a Polish artist who lives and works in Berlin is this year’s recipient of The Met’s annual commission to create an installation for the museum’s roof garden. These projects are perennial crowd-pleasers, as they add a touch of artistic enhancement to the rooftop’s spectacular views of Central Park and the Midtown skyline. Kwade’s approach seems tailor-made for the site, as it usually entails minimalist sculptural ensembles made of glass, stone and metal—materials that give her efforts a luxurious gloss. Kwade often plays perceptual tricks on the viewer as part of her overall interest in deconstructing the philosophical and scientific teachings we rely on to make sense of the world. At The Met, she reaches for the cosmos with a pair of pieces that evoke the Solar System.

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Jackson Pollock, Number 28, 1950, 1950
Photograph: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Art, Contemporary art

“Epic Abstraction: Pollock to Herrera”

icon-location-pin The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park
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This ongoing survey of monumental abstract paintings and sculptures begins in the late 1940s, when Abstract Expressionists like Jackson Pollock stormed onto the scene, and continues to the present with contributions by contemporary purveyors of the genre like Carmen Herrera.  

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Pieter Claesz, Still Life with a Skull and a Writing Quill, 1628
Photograph: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Art, Masterpiece

“In Praise of Painting: Dutch Masterpieces at The Met”

icon-location-pin The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park
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This re-installation of The Met’s holdings of 17th-century Dutch painting brings together masterpieces by Rembrandt, Hals, Vermeer, and others in a thematically arranged hanging that presents these treasures from Holland’s Golden Age in a whole new light.

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