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Cinematic Illumination by Shuzo Azuchi Gulliver MoMA
Photograph: Courtesy the artist and Tokyo Photographic Art Museum

The best art shows and exhibits in NYC

Check out our suggestions for the best art exhibitions you don’t want to miss, including recently opened shows and more

By Howard Halle and Shaye Weaver
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With New York’s art scene being so prominent yet ever-changing, you’ll want to be sure to catch significant exhibitions. Time Out New York rounds up the best art shows and exhibits in NYC, from offerings at the best photography and art galleries in NYC to shows at renowned institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim.

RECOMMENDED: The best museums in NYC

The best art shows and exhibits in NYC

Brian Clark: The Art of Light Museum of Arts & Design
Brian Clark: The Art of Light Museum of Arts & Design
Photograph: Courtesy Jenna Bascom

1. "Brian Clark: The Art of Light"

Art Museum of Arts & Design, Hell's Kitchen

Get immersed in the vivid, saturated and dramatic stained glass works of Brian Clarke, who has been one of the world's most prominent stained glass artists. You can walk between and around 20 free-standing, glass screens that almost come to life with changing light. Since the early 1970s, Clarke has collaborated with some of the world’s most prominent architects to create stained-glass designs and installations for hundreds of projects worldwide. 

Making The Met
Making The Met
Photograph: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art

2. Making the Met: 1870-2020

Art Metropolitan Museum of Art, Midtown West

"Making the Met: 1870-2020," takes you on a journey through the institution's history through more than 250 artworks it secured and displayed from its inception through today. Broken up by transitional moments in the evolution of the museum's collection, buildings, and ambitions, you'll see a thoughtful reflection on where it's been and where it's going. 

You'll see everything from visitor favorites to fragile treasures that can only be placed on view from time to time. I saw famous Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, and John Singer Sargent paintings, a photograph of Marilyn Monroe by Richard Avedon and a 1960s mod dress from Yves Saint Laurent, religious art like an ornate Hebrew Bible from the 1300s, antiquities from around the globe such as an Egyptian statue of Hatshepsut and a Neo-Hittite decorative stone slab, and so much more.

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Rachel Feinstein, Icicles, 2018
Rachel Feinstein, Icicles, 2018
Photograph: Jeff McLane, © Rachel Feinstein

3. “Rachel Feinstein: Maiden, Mother, Crone”

Art Contemporary art

The female figure and its place in art history, religion, fantasy and fairy tales is the primary focus of Rachel Feinstein’s hybrids of painting and three-dimensional form. The feminist undercurrent in her work is given a flamboyant spin with style cues taken from Baroque art, kitsch, and other styles that lean in on theatricality or sentimentality.

Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch
Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch
Photograph: Courtesy Bronx Museum

4. "Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch"

Art Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Bronx

This is the first survey of quilt-based works by Sanford Biggers and features more than 50 pieces that seamlessly weave American history into a broader context of global traditions and styles, the Bronx Museum says. Biggers' work is "deeply informed by African American history and traditions but references urban culture, the body, sacred geometry, and American symbolism," the museum says.

"Codeswitch" refers the series known as the "Codex series" and to the idea of code-switching, or shifting from one linguistic code to another depending on the social context.

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Gilberto Rivera Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration
Gilberto Rivera Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration
Photograph: Courtesy MoMA PS1/Matthew Septimus

5. "Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration"

Art MoMA PS1, Long Island City

PS1 is taking an important look at the life of people in prisons and those no longer behind bars through their art that deals with issues of state repression, erasure, and imprisonment, as well as the COVID-19 crisis in U.S. prisons. Installations include Rorschach-like portraits of black Americans who were killed in police-involved shootings, a mural made of 39 prison-issued sheets at 40 feet long and 15 feet tall and more. The exhibition is a powerful exploration of the social and cultural impact of mass incarceration.

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