Courtesy: The artist and David ZwirnerLuc Tuymans, “The Summer Is Over” at David ZwirnerThe Belgian painter’s approach has always been predicated on what could be described as a “secret history” formula, in which otherwise obtuse imagery is given a superficial charge once the viewer is aware that the subject at hand is related to the Holocaust, say, or to his own country’s history of colonialism. In his latest works, Tuymans takes a similar tack to the quotidian backdrop of his own life, presenting a rare self-portrait and paintings of details drawn from the buildings he walks by every day. Jan 10–Feb 9
Photograph: Courtesy Sperone Westwater GalleryWolfgang Laib at the Museum of Modern ArtEvanescence is a hallmark of much of the art associated with 1970s postminimalism, but nowhere more so, perhaps, than in the work of German artist Wolfgang Laib. His sculptures, noted for their use of natural materials, have included a pure white slab created by pouring a thin layer of milk atop a large tile of marble, as well as various enigmatic objects and installations made of beeswax. But he is best known for sand carpets of finely sifted hazelnut pollen, like this installation transforming MoMA’s atrium into a vast expanse of canary-colored pigment. Jan 23–Mar 11
Photograph: Courtesy Morgan Museum & Library“Drawing Surrealism” at The Morgan Library & MuseumWorks on paper by Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Joan Miró and Louise Bourgeois, among others, make up this examination of the role drawing played in the development of Surrealism. Some 160 examples of exquisite corpses, frottage and automatic drawing are on view in this first major exhibition devoted to the subject. Jan 25–Apr 21
Photograph: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute“Piero della Francesca in America” at The Frick CollectionA foundational figure of the Italian Renaissance, Piero della Francesca (1411/13–1492) receives his first monographic exhibition in the United States, courtesy of the Frick. On view are seven works, including six panels from the Saint’ Agostino altarpiece of 1454. Feb 12–May 19
Photograph: Courtesy the artist and the Estate of Colin de Land“NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star” at the New Museum of Contemporary ArtDepending on your age, 20 years ago can seem like yesterday or a long way back in time. Being uncontrollably young-at-heart, the New Mu opts for the latter in this look at 1993, with contributions by Félix González-Torres, Matthew Barney and Rirkrit Tiravanija, to name just a few, as evidence for a watershed moment in art history. Too soon? Only time will tell. Feb 13–May 26
Photograph: Hyōgo Prefectural Museum of Art“Gutai: Splendid Playground” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim MuseumWorks by postwar Japanese artists affiliated with the Gutai Art Association have been making something of a splash in New York this season, in shows at MoMA and Hauser & Wirth gallery. Now the Gugg weighs in with the first major U.S. retrospective devoted to this important avant-garde movement of the 1960s. Concurrent with Japan’s recovery after its devastating defeat in World War II, the members of Gutai mixed elements of Pop, AbEx and Minimalism to sometimes delirious effect, producing objects that remain remarkably fresh today. Feb 15–May 8
Photograph: Courtesy Lehmann MaupinLiu Wei at Lehmann MaupinA member of the next-gen wave of contemporary Chinese artists, Liu Wei, born in 1972, has fashioned sculptural works resembling large piles of poo, as well as model cityscapes made out of rawhide doggie chews. He also paints abstractions of narrow vertical stripes that likewise evoke urban skylines. This is his first show in New York. Feb 28–Mar 23
Photograph: The Metropolitan Museum of Art“Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity” at the Metropolitan Museum of ArtMasterpieces of Impressionism are shown alongside period costumes, accessories, photographs and prints to examine the impact of mid-19th-century fashion on French artists of the time. Feb 26–May 27
Photograph: Burt Glinn“Jay DeFeo: A Retrospective” at the Whitney Museum of American ArtThis exhibition represents the most definitive survey to date of Jay DeFeo (1929–1989), the West Coast artist who got her start as part of the Bay Area Beat movement and is best known for her monumental painting The Rose. Created over an eight-year period, The Rose eventually came to weigh 3,000 pounds, measuring 11 by 8 feet, and 11 inches deep at its thickest point. That work provides the centerpiece of this show, which totals more than 130 examples of DeFeo’s uniquely American art. Feb 28–June 2
Self-improvement guide 2013: Ten art exhibits to visit
Art may be subjective, but these are the best galleries and museums to visit right now if you’re on the path to self-improvement.
When it comes to art, everyone has an opinion about the best galleries and museums for seeing the most interesting art. Some will tell you to scope out the places showing off the city’s top photography, while others will have you seeking out those showing the city’s best sculpture. If you’re on the path to self-improvement and want to be truly cultured, it’s best to hit up a few of each type.