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Photograph: Courtesy ARTECHOUSE

11 must-see exhibitions we're looking forward to in 2022

2022's slate of exhibitions will feature famous artists, intriguing artifacts and immersive installations.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

The NYC art scene will see some pretty incredible exhibitions in 2022 at its best museums and event spaces, from an immersive exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat's work to the long-awaited Whitney Biennial.

No doubt, these will be some of the best exhibits and must-see attractions in NYC in the next year that you'll want to check out by yourself, with friends or family, or even if you're just visiting the city. 

Scroll down to read about 11 exhibitions we're most excited for in 2022.

RECOMMENDED: 22 things we're looking forward to in 2022

Exhibitions we're looking forward to in 2022

Whitney Biennial
Photograph: Courtesy Ben Gancsos

Whitney Biennial

One of New York’s biggest art events, the Whitney Biennial, generally takes place every two years but, after being postponed a year due to Covid, the massive cultural festival hasn’t taken place in the city since 2019. Now, America’s premier survey of contemporary art is coming back in a big way and will be held in the city’s Meatpacking District from April to August. The event also marks the 80th edition of the Biennial.

  • Art
  • Art

A new exhibition featuring 200 never-before-seen and rarely seen works by Jean-Michel Basquiat called “Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure” is set to open in early Spring 2022 at the Starrett-Lehigh Building in Chelsea. The exhibition will feature a wide range of mediums including paintings, drawings, multimedia, ephemera and artifacts to provide larger context to the work of one of the world’s most famous artists. Alongside that theme of a greater intimacy, the exhibition was actually conceived by the artist’s sisters Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux, who run The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat along with their stepmother Nora Fitzpatrick.



This year's Pantone Color of the Year is Very Peri, which is blue with red undertones. The soft, almost purple-y color will show up next year across ad campaigns and in fashion, Pantone predicts. In fact, it'll be the subject of a new digital art show at Chelsea's ARTECHOUSE in the new year. The show will evoke the emotion and feel of the color and offer a customized cocktail menu from the gallery's newly opened XR Bar. We're excited to be awash in this calming color and see a new trippy art show to start our 2022 off right.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

The Library for the Performing Arts in Lincoln Center is taking a "walk on the wild side" with the first large-scale exhibition featuring previously unseen and unheard work from Lou Reed’s archive. Opening on what would've been Reed's 80th birthday on June 9, 2022, "Lou Reed: Caught Between the Twisted Stars" is a chance for fans to see how influential the musician was up close with never-before-displayed material across Reed’s creative life from his 1958 Freeport High School band, The Shades, to his final performances in 2013. Audio and video of performances and interviews, photographers’ original prints and contact sheets, handwritten lyrics, personal correspondence, studio notes, album proofs, press, tour posters and Reed’s personal book and record collections and even a selection of Reed’s guitars and stage equipment will be on display from the Lou Reed Archive as well as the newly acquired Salvatore Mercuri Velvet Underground Collection.

  • Art
  • Chelsea

Learn about the many ways that Tibetan Buddhist artworks and practices have served as roadmaps to well-being. This new exhibition juxtaposes objects from the Rubin Museum’s collection with stories from Himalayan Americans that show various ways these living traditions are transformed and adopted for today’s world, especially in times of crisis. Organized around the central themes of "prevent," "heal" and "longevity," over 25 objects from the Rubin Museum’s collection will highlight traditional and contemporary Himalayan practices—such as rituals, visualization techniques, physical exercises, prayers, meditation, and medicinal treatments—for healing physical, mental, and emotional ailments. Artworks will be paired with stories and ephemera from Himalayan Americans who will share their own experiences with healing, both spiritual and secular, over the last two years.

The Arts of Buddhism at The Brooklyn Museum
Photograph: courtesy of Brooklyn Museum

The Arts of Buddhism at The Brooklyn Museum

As of January 21, the Brooklyn Museum will have a new gallery dedicated to the Arts of Buddhism collection. It'll juxtapose artwork with nearly 70 objects from 14 countries dating from the second century C.E. to the early 2000s. Many of the works on display will be sculptural depictions of Buddhas and other enlightened figures, as well as ritual tools and ornaments made for use in Buddhist temples and a small selection of paintings. Among the objects newly on view are several of the Museum’s masterpieces, including a rare eighth-century image of the goddess Tara from Odisha, India; a Chinese silver reliquary dedicated by a Buddhist monk and his mother; and a gilt-bronze seated Buddha from southern China. There are also at least nineteen objects that have never before been on display at the museum. In addition, as part of the inaugural installation of the gallery, a pair of important Japanese mandala paintings, dating to the fourteenth century, will be on view for the first time in twenty-five years.

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