Planning on gallery-hopping in Chelsea or one of the other gallery districts in town this weekend? Or maybe you’re in the mood for some museum-going at The Met, the Guggenheim or somewhere else? Whatever you’re thinking about seeing art-wise this weekend, check out our guide to the best weekend art exhibitions before heading out the door.
“Sophia Al-Maria: Black”
The 21st-century Arab world with all of its complexities and contradictions is the focus of the work of this Qatari-American artist, writer and filmmaker who marks her U.S. museum debut with a new series of videos inspired by Gruen transfer— a term in shopping mall design that describes the way malls are deliberately laid out to confuse consumers and make them more susceptible to making impulse buys. Whitney Museum of American Art, through Oct 31.
“Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial”
The fifth installment of the museum’s bi-annual survey of the latest trends in design features 250 works by 63 designers and teams from around the world and is broken down into seven thematic parts—“Extravagant,” “Intricate,” “Ethereal,” “Transgressive,” “Emergent,” “Elemental” and “Transformative”—that together explore the ways in which design engages engages the mind, body and senses.
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, through Aug 12.
Since the early 2000s, the work of this Bejing film and installation artist has dealt with the challenges of defining the self in a global society where the traditional boundaries that once determined identity have broken down. In one of the artist’s better-known works, she inserted herself as an avatar in the online role-playing game, Second Life; other works have similarly referenced the offline world of cospaly. While her works are populated by Chinese subjects, the issues they raise apply to everyone struggling to maintain a sense of individuality in the Information Age. MoMA PS1, through Aug 29.
This 86-year artist is a legend in his native Korea, where he has spawned a school of followers. Yet he’s little known in this country, making his New York debut something of a revelation. On view are a series of minimalist monochromes (mostly white or off-white except for one stunning example in celadon blue) enlivened by sublime surface effects created with a painstaking technique: The artist starts by coating canvases in clay before intricately folding them to create fine, overall patterns of cracks that are both regular and precise in a way that imbues process art with spiritual depth. Greene Naftali, through Aug 5.
Though Dadaism began in Zurich in 1916, it soon spread to Berlin, New York and Paris while also attracting adherents from around the world. In 1920, Dada’s daddy, founder Tristan Tzara (who, along with girlfriend Emmy Hemmings, birthed the movement in a nightclub called Cabaret Voltaire) formulated plans for a publication that would have comprehensively covered Dada’s activities over the previous four years. Fifty artists and writers from ten countries were invited to contribute photographs, original drawings, graphic designs and writings. Dadaglobe, as the project was called, never materialized, however, and was eventually forgotten though some of the original artworks submitted to Tzara became well known. They are brought together here for the first time in nearly a century. MoMA, through Sept 18.
Laura Craig McNellis, “Structures”
Autistic and non-literate, Laura Craig McNellis has been painting since childhood as a way of communicating her life in Nashville, Tennessee. Applying tempera and marker to blank newsprint with bold simplicity, McNellis often depicts rooms and artifacts from her family home in ways both playful, heraldic and genuinely affecting. Ricco/Maresca Gallery, through July 15.
The late 1960s and early 1970s in New York represented a time when the art world was smaller, more radical and more willing to take risks. Reflecting the societal upheavals of the time, artists in downtown Manhattan turned against the market-readiness of Pop Art and the slick finishes of Minimlaism, creating new ephemeral categories like earthworks, site-specific installations, Performance Art and video, all with an emphasis on the idea behind making art, rather than on the art object itself. The availability of cheap, expansive loft spaces meant that making money wasn’t that important, and a system of non-profit alternative galleries funded by Federal, State and city agencies sprang up to support and exhibit artists and their work. Out in Long Island City these trends culminated in the founding of PS1. Housed in a former school building, it was the largest alternative space of its type, and its inaugural show, “Rooms,” was essentially a summa of the ideas that had been percolating over the previous decade. Now, four decades on, the art world has become a machine of global capitalism and PS1 has become an annex of MoMA. However, for its Fortieth Anniversay, MoMA PS1 revisits the revolutionary spirit of its founding with a survey of historical and new works focused on installation, site-specificity and architecture. MoMA PS1, through Aug 29.
Cornelia Parker, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn)
This year’s Met rooftop installation goes for gothic horror with a 30-foot high facsimile of the Bates residence in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. The handiwork of British artist and Turner Prize nominee Cornelia Parker, the work also visually references Edward Hopper’s haunting 1925 painting, House by the Railroad, as well as the archetypal American red-painted barn. Built of wood salvaged from a real barn in Schoharie, New York, PsychoBarn is true to its Hollywood inspiration by consisting of two facades propped up from behind with scaffolding. This is actually historically accurate since the movie lot original was also constructed as a two-walled facade. Standing against the Met’s view of Central Park, PsychoBarn also brings a touch of The Addams Family to Manhattan’s skyline. Metropolitan Museum of Art, through Oct 31.
This is the first retrospective in 50 years of this giant of 20th-century modernism. Born in Hungary, Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946) became an instructor at the legendary Bauhaus, before his teaching eventually brought him to Chicago. A pioneering painter, photographer, sculptor, filmmaker and designer, Moholy-Nagy was a key innovator in the fields of kinetic sculpture and cameraless photography, and the use of ephemeral materials like light and plastics. He held to the utopian belief that art could change the world by marrying it to technology. Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, through Sept 7.
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, “Try to Altar Everything”
The 66-year old artist, poet, musician and occultist is known for dealing with the fluidity of gender and identity, undergoing surgery, for example, to transform into someone existing somewhere between male and female. This show of paintings, sculptures and installations explores the lesser-known impact of Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley and Hindu mythology on P-Orridg's work. The Rubin Museum of Art, through Aug 1.