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Photograph: Fredrik NilsenLesley Vance, Untitled, 2015

The best painting shows in NYC this fall

Check out the fifteen best painting shows that are opening and closing soon in New York City's galleries

Written by
Howard Halle

For a medium pronounced dead on countless occasions, painting is alive and kicking, especially in New York. First off, museums in NYC are filled with paintings by modern and contemporary artists, as well as by Old Masters. And that beauteous bounty is reflected in the scores of gallery exhibits showing the same. No matter which art neighborhood you go to—Chelsea, the Upper and Lower East Sides, midtown—you will find scores of painting offerings. To prove the point, we offer our selections of must-see art shows that are soon to open—and close. See the list below in chronological order by closing date.

Painting shows in NYC this fall

"Billy Childish: Flowers, Nudes and Birch Trees"
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British artist Billy Childish is something of a multitasker, an author, poet, photographer, filmmaker, singer and guitarist, in addition to being a painter. Whatever the medium, the themes that have occupied his career have included his love life and his childhood as a victim of sexual abuse. As for his painting style, it's loose and figurative and owes a considerable depth to Van Gogh and Expressionism, with hints of Lucian Freud tossed in for good measure. His latest show includes nudes, landscapes, still lifes and self-portraits.

Billy Childish, Nude Reclining, 2015
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Gallace’s canvases are small, but they pack a painterly punch thanks to creamy brushwork, rich color and spare, simplified depictions of flowers, landscapes, barns, shorelines and other features of life lived close to nature—or at least, outside New York. Her latest work focuses on views of the ocean but also contains floral still lifes and views of the seasons.

Maureen Gallace, Backyard, June 24th, 2015
Photograph: John Berens
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The show’s title says it all: The paintings here were all created during the last 10 years of Andy's life, when he expanded his repertoire of subjects and techniques. Included here are examples of his celebrity portraits, camouflage paintings, Rorschach blots and more.

Andy Warhol, Hammer & Sickle, 1976
Photograph: © Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
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This Turkish artist specializes in what could be described as reverse Orientalism, subverting the 19th-century category of genre paintings that captured scenes of the Middle East imagined as exotic by Europeans at the time. Here, he employs its conventions—particularly the technically polished figurative approach associated with Beaux Arts painting—to tackle the granddaddy of the Orientalists, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. In one notable image, Ceylan reframes the neoclassical master as an art-historical cross-dresser, transposing the image of his head from his self-portrait as a young artist onto the satin-swathed body of the Princesse de Broglie, the subject of Ingres’s 1851–53 portrait of the same name.

Taner Ceylan, Ingres, 2015
Photograph: Courtesy the artist and Paul Kasmin Gallery
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This German artist’s barely-there paintings either offer a lot to think about or not much to look at, depending on your point of view. Still, his seemingly half-hearted approach to the medium (abortive abstract flourishes and doodlelike images rendered against mostly open, stark-white backgrounds) is driven by wholehearted commitment. Krebber’s work represents the reductio ad absurdum of a love-hate attitude toward painting that was common among the artists of the 1980s Cologne art scene led by Martin Kippenberger (for whom Krebber once worked as a studio assistant). These latest pieces are populated by childlike depictions of fish and snails, as well as gestural marks that appear to have been left unfinished by an artist who hurried off to do something more pressing. Also featured on some of the canvases are overall fields of halftone dots that may represent a nod to Sigmar Polke—or not.

Michael Krebber, MK.286, 2015
Photograph: Courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali
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A native of Tbilisi, Georgia, who calls Vienna home, Sirbiladze relies on fast Expressionist gestures to create her sinuous, quasi-abstracted paintings, which often evoke female nudes in the midst of pleasuring themselves. There’s nothing quite so explicit in her newest paintings, though they will likely pleasure you in their own way.

Tamuna Sirbiladze, Hello K, 2012
Photograph: Jorit Aust
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Quaytman doesn't see her conceptual paintings as singular compositions but as parts of an overall scheme detailing the arc of her career—a "book in which each successive show is a chapter.” The works here are part of a series originally mounted at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, one revolving around Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus (1920), located in the museum’s collection. In it, Klee pasted a monoprint over a 16th-century engraving of a figure in a black robe—an image all but obscured by the collage. Quaytman set out to discover the identity of this hidden figure, subjecting Klee's piece to X-rays and other tests. In a process that took two years, the artist attempted to solve what was, essentially, a 95-year-old art-historical murder mystery—an investigation that became the grist for these paintings.

R.H. Quaytman, חקק, Chapter 29,  2015
Photograph: Courtesy Miguel Abreu
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The veteran abstractionist's newest paintings feature bold color and equally bold brushwork whereby pigment is scraped, layered and smeared. They are paintings radiating with the energy of the moment in which they were created.

Louise Fishman, The Day In Its Color, 2013
Photograph: Courtesy Cheim & Read
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Collage, bricolage and shifts in surface texture are hallmarks of the work by this Spanish artist, who often incorporates found objects and materials into his paintings. Mixing allegory and abstraction within compositionally dense canvases, Vega sifts through various forms of cultural detritus to explore the vagaries of the human condition.

Carlos Vega, School of Translators, 2015
Photograph: Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery
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This group show rounds up recent painting talents and includes works by El Anatsui, Cecily Brown and Lesley Vance, among others, all of them drawing “attention to the dynamic potential of a painting’s surface,” according to the exhibit’s organizers. And indeed, overall composition is the order of the day.

Lesley Vance, Untitled, 2015
Photograph: Fredrik Nilsen
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On view are paintings produced by Bacon during the last 20 years of his life. Bacon was known for his screaming popes and writhing figures, but his late-career paintings are somewhat more refined, with visceral brushwork giving way to spray paint and brighter colors supplanting dark tones. There is still plenty of the artist’s signature sturm und drang, however.

Francis Bacon, Self-Portrait, 1978
Photograph: Robert McKeever
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Like Picasso, Rauschenberg (1925–2008) was known for his prodigious output as well as wild, innovative leaps and a willingness to experiment outside the box no matter the medium. He was a collagist of life, using found objects and images in densely packed pictorial compositions and sculptural aggregations to evoke the subjective nature of experience. In these works from the 1990s, he used the technically difficult dye-transfer method to apply fragmentary photographic images onto plaster and polylaminate panels to create ghostly effects.

Robert Rauschenberg, Contest (Arcadian Retreat), 1996
Photograph: © Robert Rauschenberg
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Brash, loud, scabrous and feverishly funny, Saul’s paintings have sent up politicians, cultural mores and art history for more than 50 years. Now in his late career, the feisty octogenarian shows no signs of slowing down in his latest paintings, whose targets include Hyacinthe Rigaud, Jacques-Louis David, Théodore Géricault and Abstract Expressionism.

Peter Saul, Abstract Expressionist Cowboy, 2015
Photograph: © Peter Saul
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Controlled anarchy meets information overload in these optically chaotic paintings by Berlin artist Corinne Wasmuht. Based on an image archive kept by the artist that numbers in the thousands of items, the paintings suggest what might happen if the Internet went into sudden meltdown: Pictorial fragments (of people and buildings) stutter and dissolve into what looks like digital artifacts or are subsumed into passages of blurry abstractions. Even so, it's possible to make out that Wasmuht captures throngs of people moving through public plazas and lobbies, creating an allegorical landscape of a world in which offline existence becomes indistinguishable from an online presence.

Corinne Wasmuht, Pehoé P, 2015
Photograph: Courtesy the artist and Petzel
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Peter Doig was born in Scotland and lived in Trinidad as a child before moving to Canada. This background perhaps explains the meeting of northern reticence and equatorial effusiveness—of abundant sunshine shadowed by personal gloom—that’s been a hallmark of paintings that also suggest what might happen if Whistler mugged Rothko in a back alley. For his first show here in four years, Doig includes work originally presented earlier this year at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice.

Peter Doig, Horse and Rider, 2014
Photograph: Jochen Littkemann
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