Art Gallery Shows to See in February

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In this article, we propose to pay attention to important and curious art gallery shows in NYC that opened in February 2023.

Ming Smith: Feeling the Future

Ming Smith has been working in New York’s Harlem neighborhood since the 1970s. The artist documents the lives of blacks in works that transform images from photographic documents into elements of emotional expression. Her work is the subject of two important art gallery shows in NYC in 2023.

A focused exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, curated by Harlem Studio Museum Director Thelma Golden and MoMA Associate Curator Oluremy K. Onabanjo, is already on display at MoMA’s free street galleries.

In Houston, “Ming Smith: Feeling of the Future” spans the artist’s entire career and includes some of her most famous portraits.

Museum of Modern Art, New York, Feb. 4–May 29, 2023;

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, May 19–Oct. 1, 2023

Amalia Mesa-Bains: Archaeology of Memory

Photo : Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco

Amalia Mesa-Baines’ pioneering practice as the founding mother of Chicanx art has revolutionized installation art for over six decades. The artist succeeded in this by elevating the home altar to the level of fine art, while also creating an important scholarship for Chicanx artists when most of the mainstream institutions ignored or outright neglected them.

Her first retrospective and one of the best art gallery shows in NYC now, titled The Archeology of Memory, features 10 large-scale installations, as well as related prints and books, including her important Venus Envy series, created over decades and presented here in its entirety for the first time.

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA, Feb. 4–July 23, 2023

Sharjah Biennial 15

This year’s Sharjah Biennale, titled “Historical Thinking in the Present,” was curated by Sharjah Art Foundation Founder and Director Khur Al Qasimi, along with an international team of curators. For the 30th anniversary of Biennale 30, undoubtedly one of the best art gallery shows, artists including Wangechi Mutu, John Akomfre and Kerry James Marshall were commissioned to create new works.

The show features 150 artists from 70 countries, with artworks to be displayed at 16 sites throughout the emirate.

Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 7–June 11, 2023

Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952–1982

Photo : San Francisco Museum of Modern Art/© 2023 Hans Haacke/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

The era of the birth of the personal computer and its impact is explored in the exhibition Coded: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952–1982. The art gallery showis dedicated to the years preceding the advent of revolutionary computer technologies. It features the work of artists, musicians, filmmakers and other artists who have used computers directly or have used algorithms and other systems in their work.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Feb. 12–July 2, 2023

I’ll Be Your Mirror: Art and the Digital Screen

Photo : Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, and Esther Schipper, Berlin. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022. Film still © Hito Steyerl

The art gallery show traces how artists have responded to the spread of images and ideas since 1969, when the noteworthy event of the century, the Apollo moon landing, took place. A significant portion of the art gallery shows is dedicated to the exhibition, which includes watershed works that tackle the themes of surveillance, digital abstraction, and the ironic isolation of our hyper-connected age.

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Feb. 12–Apr. 30, 2023

Day Jobs

Photo : ©Violette Bule

Being an artist, a dishwasher, a nanny, a repairman, a furniture maker or a waiter may seem like the antithesis of an artistic ideal, but such work has provided a surprising amount of inspiration to countless post-war artists. The approximately 75 works collected in Day Jobs art gallery show represent virtually every conceivable medium and approach created by many successful artists.

Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Feb. 19–July 23, 2023

Whitfield Lovell: Passages

Photo: DC Moore Gallery, New York

The art gallery shows “Passages” is the first comprehensive survey of works by Whitfield Lovell, known for evocative videos and installations that speak to African American history and issues of identity, memory, and America’s collective heritage. Many of his works include drawings on paper or recycled wood. The works are based on photographs of black people taken between the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights Movement.

Boca Raton Museum of Art, Feb. 15–May 21, 2023; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, June 17–Sept. 10, 2023; Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, Little Rock, Oct. 13, 2023–Jan. 14, 2024; Cincinnati Art Museum, Mar. 1–May 26, 2024; The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC, June 29–Sept, 22, 2024; McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Oct. 26, 2024–Jan. 19, 2025

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