Of course, we live in strange times, but in museums and galleries, it’s (almost) commonplace. Almost all art centers are open again, so here are the best art gallery shows right now, as well as until the end of time.
Some art shows now require reservations for exhibitions while others can drastically cut the number of visitors, so you might have to queue, and almost all of them have changed their opening hours.
In any case, check the gallery sites before heading out. From modern and trendy to classic and serene, we have everything you need for your next creation.
Julie Mehretu’s work has grown steadily, especially in the past few years. It helped to remove the fussy layers of finely drawn architectural facades, planning grids, and weather maps that limited the style, scale, and apocalyptic mood of her large canvases, and to work more freely by hand.
This was evident in her 2016 demo at Marian Goodman, where soft lines prevailed. This is even more evident in her latest gallery exhibition “About Half an Hour”, whose title from the Book of Revelation refers to the brief silence between the opening of the Seventh Seal and God’s release of the Last Judgment.
Now Ms. Mehretu has taken color again, highlighting red and blue strands among the ominous lights and shadows of a series of seven vertical paintings (2019-20) that gave the show’s name.
Mostly done with an airbrush, they appear to be a feat of craftsmanship or an artificial backdrop for photorealistic paintings. When clouds and multicolored signs accumulate, they appear more convincing – like paintings and like ominous turmoil. This takes place in the fourth and fifth work of the series, as well as in the predecessor Rebellion (Charlottesville) from 2018-19.
Suffice it to say that hints of exposure and violence, not to mention the chaos of American politics, seem to be equally present. But the best paintings are the few horizontal canvases that use the most color and the most techniques (including silk-screening and stencil). Ms. Mehretu always seemed a little nervous about actually creating paintings, not big drawings. Not anymore.
The great self-taught artist Thornton Dial (1928-2016) created his paintings from almost any debris that came his way, including rope rugs, wire mesh, and trimmings of wood and fabric. His exhilarating work captures the hardships and creativity of blacks in the south. It responds to the obsession of modernist painting with comprehensiveness and flatness. There is some contradiction between what Mr. Dial used and how.
In the small show, Dial the World, Part I: The Tiger Flew Over New York, the title picture (1990) depicts a grinning feline flying over a forest of buildings like one of Chagall’s figures in the air. It is a ghostly look, rendered in black, white, and brown, and much of its power comes from being applied to strips of fleecy carpet.
This small, exceptional exhibition of just eight paintings reveals some of the softer, if not less eccentric – or violent – sides of Mr. Dial’s accomplishments.
Thomas Eggerer’s “The Massacre” (2020), oil on canvas.Credit…Thomas Eggerer and Petzel
Thomas Eggerer’s new show, The Corridor, focuses on the huge canvas of the same name, a bird’s-eye view of protest just over 10 square feet. Dozens of identically dressed men and women drive along a six-lane highway surrounded by bike paths and pedestrian crossings.
There are a few hints of real events – pink umbrellas may resemble women’s marches, kneeling figures may say, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” But all the banners they carry are empty. The Brooklyn-based German artist has done six small pieces, most of which can be seen below people sitting on scaffolding.
The other, Carnage, features a neatly arranged arrangement of half-eaten hamburgers and shiny drops of ketchup dropping down like symbols on the early Macintosh splash screen. The larger picture has the same awkward splash charm. At first sight, it is clear that it is built from a limited number of elements, ordered according to a limited set of rules.
So you might assume that this is a picture of people as powerless atoms in a sea of forces beyond their control. Even their most passionate demonstrations, as formulaic as the weather. You can even see the floating latitude and receding perspective, white posters emerging from across the room.
But I think they show that even the simplest building blocks, when properly assembled, can work wonders.
Those who devote their lives to art usually have an early, middle, and late phase. The art show, modestly subtitled Notes on Painting, 1969–2019, follows Harriet Corman through her dozen canvases reflecting 50 years of striving forward.
The art show, modestly subtitled Notes on Painting, 1969–2019, follows Harriet Corman through her dozen canvases reflecting 50 years of striving forward.The work begins with Ms. Corman’s brilliant, daringly sloppy Process Art paintings of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Covering parallel lines of the blue crayon with white acrylic, which she partially scraped off, she created loose, torn patterns from lines, paints, and bare canvas, based on radical ideas from old artists such as Frank Stella and Robert Ryman, and briefly made Miss Corman something like a young art star.
Then, from the late 70s to the mid-90s, she regrouped, switching to oil paint, trying to develop her obviously sloppy approach to geometry. Around the turn of the century, she mastered the seemingly conservative geometry of vibrant shapes and stripes, which she gradually made strange and new.
Ms. Corman’s colors, devoid of white or any kind of push-pull, are saturated, even a little dark, and structured into intuitive compositions; they move forward with unusual emotional and optical intensity.
In an unnamed painting in 2001, a field made up mostly of irregular triangles touches each other, seeking to become more visible. In a 2016 painting, also untitled, concentric right angles in many colors protrude from the corners to form a quasi-cross or four asymmetrical chevrons.
It would be nice to see how Ms. Corman’s 50 years of creativity are filled with a lot of examples from her work. What is written here conveys completely different ideas about originality, discipline, and self-awareness. Life is short, art is long. Painting, at least in terms of the time it often takes to develop, maybe the longest of all.
Sorry if you thought that Shayda Soleimani took digital photographs at her Breed Garden exhibition. Collapsing space and subject area into layered images of body parts, food, electronics, and more, they receive information through a particular internet aesthetic.
But Ms. Soleimani’s works are analogous, compositions placed in her workshop. Thus, their premise is not only formal but epistemological: much of what we think we know is distortion or illusion.
Ms. Soleimani is trying to fix this by using her practice to deepen viewers’ understanding of Iran, from which her parents fled in the 1980s as political refugees.
The realities of life there, the country’s tensions with the West, and the geopolitics of the Middle East are at the center of her work. Her 2018 solo exhibition at the CUE Art Foundation denounced the activities of the global oil economy, depicting its leaders in cartoons.
Hotbed retains the same critical bite, but conveys it to still lifes that are more complex and difficult. Two series stand out here. Crudes are conceptual portraits of crude oil blends such as Iran Heavy (2018), which is represented by fish inflating a bubble and leaning on weights.
The product looks bizarrely seductive, but at the same time, it is filled with a deeper meaning – for example, both the elastic band and the weights are made from petroleum products. The “levers of power” dismember the political spectacle, isolating the hands of American and Iranian politicians. When disembodied limbs point and wipe themselves among the fields of symbolic supports, the gestures of the mighty of this world become empty and absurd.
“When you have nowhere to go, what do you do?” – writes 95-year-old polymath Ethel Adnan in his new book “Changing the Silence”, in which he reflects on death and aging. “Of course, nothing. But that’s not the answer. ” The book’s release this fall coincides with her new art show, The Seasons.
Ms. Adnan was born in Lebanon, studied at the Sorbonne, taught philosophy of art at the Dominican University of California at San Rafael, returned to Beirut and now lives in Paris. When art critics focus on her legendary biography, we are, I think, trying to convey something about Ms. Adnan’s work itself: her simple gestures are never perceived as provincialism.
And his willingness to tackle major topics – such as nature, mortality, and astronomical phenomena – speaks not of naivety, but of the broad outlook of an experienced thinker. Tapestries depicting semi-abstract landscapes with foliage occupy the main gallery space, which also contains an accordion-folded book with pink-painted figures.
But the art show’s knockouts are the smallest, quietest pieces. All of these paintings, taken this year, allegedly depict a planet looming over an object on earth, whether it be a bicycle or a ghostly bush created by a palette knife scraping off lemon green paint.
The sky ball in Planet 17 hovers over an indeterminate shape — perhaps over the skull? Ms. Adnan allows the paint on his contours to crumble, rather than form smooth lines as if causing sweat or decay on a parched landscape.
Each work seems to aim to surpass its neighbor with ingenious play. The results are adorable.