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Three exhibitions to see in New York

Three exhibitions to see in New York


Three exhibitions to see in New York

Our editors and writers scour the city each week for the most thoughtful, relevant and exciting new exhibitions and artworks on view at galleries, museums and public venues across all five boroughs of New York. This week we recommend:

Rico Gatson, Untitled (Young Mystics) (2020)
Courtesy of the artist and Miles McEnery Gallery

Rico Gatson: GhostsUntil 19 December at Miles McEnery gallery, 25 West 22nd Street, ManhattanRico Gatson works across painting, sculpture, video and collage, often using abstraction as a means to explore the Black experience in America. In his show at Miles McEnery, he demonstrates how he has been able to use the same visual lexicon developed in works past to investigate Blackness in its relationship to the mystical, opening doors to see how one experience may bleed into the next. At what point does a struggle transcend the corporeal? And how are beauty and innovation possible in the midst of it all? The show’s paintings are done in acrylic on wooden, door-sized panels, and some paintings, like Untitled (Rainbow) (all works 2020), probe this metaphor of the threshold even further. Untitled (Ghosts After Albert Ayler) uses abstraction to explore how the titular jazz musician pushed sonic boundaries to their outermost extremes, with combating upright and inverted geometry that allude to the poignancy of conflicting desires—Ayler pushed beauty to its extremes, then took his own life. Also on view are a half dozen works on paper from Gatson’s ongoing Icons series, which collage images of historic Black figures amidst the artist’s sunburst-like rays. —Wallace Ludel

Tom Sachs, Krusty O’s (2019)
Acquavella Galleries

Tom Sachs: Handmade PaintingsUntil 18 December at Acquavella Galleries, 18 East 79th Street, ManhattanAquavella Galleries presents Tom Sachs’s first ever exhibition to focus exclusively on paintings—though not his trademark medium—feel largely in-step with his larger body of work. Their draftsmanship recalls a similar touch of the DIY aesthete, and the questions they pose—conundrums around consumerism, humour, and the tragicomic fallibility of the ego—are ones that undergird the artist’s oeuvre. The paintings’ central focus is brands and logos, which collectively run the gamut from the mundane—a haphazard depiction of the McDonald’s golden arches—to the absurd—a bowl of Krusty the Clown’s Krusty-O’s cereal (from The Simpsons), replete with screws, worms, and dirt—to the mundanely absurd, or perhaps the absurdly mundane—the American flag. Cleverly, the paintings at once elevate and diminish their subjects, intentionally drudging it all into the realm of bathos. As Krusty the Clown often said, “It’s not just good, it’s good enough!” —Wallace Ludel

Minnie Evans, Untitled (1959)
Gavin Ashworth

Six Decades Collecting Self-Taught Art: Revealing a Diverse and Rich Artistic NarrativeUntil 2 January 2021 at the American Folk Art Museum, 2 Lincoln Square, ManhattanClosing out the American Folk Art Museum’s 60th anniversary celebration, this exhibition displays an abridged collection of the more than 500 works donated to the museum earlier this year by the American philanthropist and prolific Outsider art collector Audrey B. Heckler, an esteemed trustee of the museum who discovered her passion for the genre after visiting the 1993 Outsider Art Fair in Manhattan. The show marks the first show in a permanent gallery named in Heckler’s honour, recognising her significant contributions to the museum and Outsider art scholarship. The show includes important works by seminal artists of the genre like Martín Ramírez, Barbus Müller and the late Black artist Minnie Evans, whose signature kaleidoscopic foliate paintings of plant and animal forms surrounding human faces or eyes aimed to evoke the presence of God and serve as windows to the soul. “I love these artworks and have collected them with care,” Heckler said in a statement. “I want them to stay together and to be a part of a place I deeply cherish, so that they can be enjoyed by visitors, scholars, and artists for years to come.”—Gabriella Angeleti

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