In NYC this Fall?

September 22, 2021

The art world is back! If you didn’t make it to Armory or the Independent art fair this September, not to worry, great gallery exhibitions abound in the city that never sleeps.  Here is our definitive list of must-see fall shows:

Leonardo Drew's installation at Galerie Lelong.

Leonardo Drew Installation view at Galerie Lelong, New York City | Sept 9– Oct 23, 2021.

528 West 26TH St | Sept 9 – Oct 23, 2021

Drew’s explosive installation has left its mark and was a top highlight of our week in NYC. The monumental, immersive work above uses wood, construction materials, and wall drawings to “make chaos legible”. The work (yes it is one piece) will remind fellow San Franciscans of Drew’s lauded exhibition at the De Young Museum in 2017. 

Phillip Guston, Blackboard, 1969, oil on canvas, 79 ½ x 112 inches. Image courtesy of Hauser & Wirth.

542 West 22nd Street |  Sept 9 — Oct 30, 2021

If you are not familiar with the work of the late and great Philip Guston (1913-1980) this exhibition gives a great overview of artist’s most iconic works from 1969 to just before his death. Do not misinterpret the caricatured white hood figures populating his more powerful canvases, they are a pointed criticism of the KKK, which was still active in Southern California where the artist lived at the time. Guston after years of abstract expressionism decided his work needed to say something more concrete and his influence can be felt in the practices of many contemporary artists working today from Henry Taylor, Dana Schutz, Ellen Gallagher, Amy Sillman, Mickalene Thomas, to Peter Doig and others.

Installation view of Tacita Dean | The Dante Project. Courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery and the artist.

24 West 57th St | Sept 7 – Oct 23, 2021

Overwhelmingly, this art season in NYC was defined by powerful female artists and Tacita Dean, the British filmmaker and photographer, did not disappoint with her museum quality exhibition at Marian Goodman. Starting with a mesmerizing film capturing the profound minds of Julie Mehretu and Luchita Hurtado titled 150 years of painting (the collective years of artistry between these two GREAT painters) to the imposingly monumental photographs of  Jacaranda trees in Los Angeles (above). The photographic negatives layered with white crayon are part of Dean’s “Dante Project”  and take their inspiration from the Italian writer’s Purgatory.

Mickalene Thomas, September 1977, 2021. Rhinestones, glitter and acrylic paint on canvas mounted on wood panel with mahogany frame, 110⅛ x 92³⁄₁₆ x 2⅞ inches © Mickalene Thomas / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

909 Madison Avenue | Sept 9 – Nov 13, 2021 

A fun fact, Thomas’ exhibition title makes reference to both Janet Jackson’s 1987 hit song and Sigmund Freud’s 1920 landmark essay, ‘Beyond the Pleasure Principle’. And the show lives up to both sources with its bold glittered canvases that focus on the Black female body as a seat of beauty and agency. Made in collaboration with the artist’s life partner and curator Racquel Chevremont, these works reclaim vintage pin-up calendars from Jet Magazine, which played an important role in Black American life.

Installation view of Jorge Pardo | All Bets Are Off, 2021.

456 West 18th Street | Sept 9 – Oct 30, 2021

Who doesn’t love to look at art while sitting on a comfortable couch? Especially when said couch is part of the exhibition! Here Cuban American artist Jorge Pardo’s “All bets are off” show created more than just the paintings on the wall but an entire environment from a custom-built couch to a monumental chandelier all in the artist’s joyous and flamboyant style.

Zanele Muholi, Tholakele, 2021. Acrylic paint on canvas. 59 1/8 x 47 3/4 inches. Courtesy of Yancey Richardson and the artist.

525 West 22nd Street | Sept 10 – Oct 16, 2021

This newest body of work is an exciting turn for South African artist Zanele Muholi, who has been known for their dramatic black and white photographic self-portraits. We love to see artists evolve in their practice and as COVID-19 shut down the ability for Muholi to work in their photography studio with assistants, the artist started exploring a new medium, paint! Here, Muholi uses their penchant for costumes to consider and reveal the construction of gender, a constant theme in the artist’s practice.

Installation view, Caroline Kent | Proclamations from the Deep. Casey Kaplan Gallery NYC (2021).

121 West 27th Street | Sept 9 – Oct 23, 2021

From Chicago, this is Kents’s New York debut. “Proclamations from the Deep’ is an apt title for this exhibition which is filled with very large black paintings that swallow the viewer in abstracted glyph-like colored shapes. For those in Chicago, be sure to check out Kent’s solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art!

Install view of Alexandre Lenoir | Trois Rivières at Almine Rech New York.

39 East 78th Street, 2nd Floor | Sept 8 – October 23, 2021

Another artist discovered this fall is the Paris based painter, Alexandre Lenoir. We found not only the finished paintings interesting but also Lenoir’s process. He starts with a photograph projected onto a canvas that he uses as his guide while painting, then comes chance as the wet canvases are sometimes placed on the floor creating pools of color and blurred edges. This works in this exhibition, “Trois Rivières”, are based on photographs that decorated the walls of Lenoir’s grandmother’s house in Guadeloupe.

Matthew Angelo Harrison, Fields to Burrow, 2021. Wooden sculpture, polyurethane resin, and anodized aluminum. Overall Dimensions: 63 5/8 x 12 x 9 1/2 inches. Courtesy of Salon 94 and the artist.

3 East 89th Street | Sept 14 – Oct 30, 2021

It was very exciting to see the Detroit artist, Matthew Angelo Harrison, on the New York stage, after several exhibitions with Jessica Silverman Gallery here in the Bay Area. For those unfamiliar with Harrison’s practice, he creates sculptures by encapsulating found objects like West African masks and figures in resin, a difficult process that often leaves interesting “flaws” in the synthetic casing. In the artist’s own words: “My resin encapsulations take wooden sculptures targeting the tourist trade­­—in other words, semi-disposable momentos—and give them a lasting platform, a stage to mean more, like a dragonfly caught in amber.”

Lisa Yuskavage, Yellow Studio, 2021, oil on linen | 70 x 77 in. Courtesy of David Zwirner and the artist.

533 West 19th Street | Sept 9 – Oct 23, 2021

Yuskavage’s exhibition brings us into the artist’s studio, with 3 life-size paintings exploring this canonical subject matter infused with her characteristic dose of dreamy color. Standing out in the crowd is Yuskavage’s “Yellow Studio”, where the female figure mimics the pose of “Boy with Thorn” a Greco-Roman bronze in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery.

Alice Neel, Richard in High Chair, c. 1940 Oil on canvas. 23 x 19 3/8 inches. Courtesy of David Zwirner and the artist’s estate.

537 West 20th Street | Sept 9 – Oct 16, 2021

Alice Neel (1900-1984) is yet another female artist, whose talent was largely overlooked during her lifetime. Happily things are changing. Neel was the subject of a major exhibition at the Metropolitan this summer. In case you missed her show at the Met, fear not, David Zwirner has served up a museum quality exhibition focusing on the early years of Neel’s career from the 1930-1950s. We loved the intimate portraits of family members like her son Richard above.

Marcel Dzama, We dance like the fire on the bones of the liars and let truth rise from the ash (or Moon dance), 2021. Ink, gouache, and graphite. Courtesy of David Zwirner and the artist.

34 East 69th Street | Sept 8 – Oct 23, 2021

Dzama created this new group of drawings during quarantine, which seems surprising considering how joyous, bright and hopeful they feel. Several of the drawings feature beaming anthropomorphized suns and moons above groups of reveling masked dancers. As Dzama notes, “I find the fear, anxiety, and sadness from the virus has changed my art. It has focused it in a more hopeful and positive direction. I find when things are more easygoing, I get a little more cynical and world-weary, but when things are down, I find myself being more hopeful and positive in my work.”