24 Art Exhibitions to View in N.Y.C. This Weekend

24 Art Exhibitions to View in N.Y.C. This Weekend


An illustration of a future Mexico City by Francisco Mujica in 1929, on view at “The Metropolis in Latin America, 1830-1930,” which closes at Americas Society on Saturday.CreditGetty Research Institute

Our guide to new art shows and some that will be closing soon.

‘THOMAS BAYRLE: PLAYTIME’ at the New Museum (through Sept. 2). In the digital fever dream of Mr. Bayrle’s work, pixelated pictures twist and bend and resolve into fuzzily warped images. Abstract films and videos pulse with psychedelic patterns. But if Mr. Bayrle’s art seems like the ultimate in early computer design, most of the 115 paintings, prints, films and sculptures in his first major New York retrospective are actually handcrafted, generally using his signature “superform” of a large image made up of hundreds or thousands of smaller ones. Ultimately, Mr. Bayrle’s work instead offers a window into digital thinking or, it could be said, how we got to where we are now. (Martha Schwendener)

‘HUMA BHABHA: WE COME IN PEACE’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (through Oct. 28). This spare and unsettling sculptural installation for the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden Commission includes two figures: one that is somewhat humanoid but with a ferocious mask-face and that visually dwarfs the jagged Manhattan skyline behind it, and another bowing in supplication or prayer, with long cartoonish human hands and a scraggly tail emerging from its shiny, black drapery. The title is a variant on the line an alien uttered to an anxious crowd in the 1951 science-fiction movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” but it ripples with other associations: colonization, invasion, imperialism or missionaries and other foreigners whose intentions were not always innocent. The installation also feels like an extension of the complex, cross-cultural conversation going on downstairs, inside a museum packed with 5,000 years of art history. (Schwendener)

‘THE FACE OF DYNASTY: ROYAL CRESTS FROM WESTERN CAMEROON’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (through Sept. 3). In the African wing, a show of just four commanding wooden crowns constitutes a blockbuster in its own right. These massive wooden crests — in the form of stylized human faces with vast vertical brows — served as markers of royal power among the Bamileke peoples of the Cameroonian grasslands, and the Met’s recent acquisition of an 18th-century specimen is joined here by three later examples, each featuring sharply protruding cheeks, broadly smiling mouths and brows incised with involute geometric patterns. Ritual objects like these were decisive for the development of Western modernist painting, and a Cameroonian crest was even shown at MoMA in the 1930s, as a “sculpture” divorced from ethnography. But these crests had legal and diplomatic significance as well as aesthetic appeal, and their anonymous African creators had a political understanding of art not so far from our own. (Jason Farago)
, metmuseum.org

‘GIACOMETTI’ at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (through Sept. 12). This museum-filling outing for the signal sculptor of Western modernism is rather cautious — but revisionism can wait another day when the art looks as good as it does here. The Swiss artist’s witty and erotic early sculpture, such as the still-shocking “Disagreeable Object” (a phallic torture device with a spiked business end), enraptured the Surrealists in early 1930s Paris, but Giacometti was never content with an art of ideas, and in his filthy studio, he soon started making elongated, emaciated humanoids that have since become emblems of Europe’s postwar trauma. If you know Giacometti best for the bronzes that now go for obscene sums at auction, it’s a particular pleasure here to see his work in plaster, a medium he adored; the humility of the handwork testifies to his anxious mastery. (Farago)

exhibition of Rei Kawakubo’s irregular apparel, the Met Costume Institute is back in blockbuster mode with this three-part blowout on the influence of Catholicism on haute couture of the last century. The trinity of fashion begins downstairs at the Met with the exceptional loans of vestments from the Vatican; upstairs are gowns fit for angels in heaven (by Lanvin, Thierry Mugler, Rodarte) or angels fallen to earth (such as slinky Versace sheaths garlanded with crosses). The scenography at the Met is willfully operatic — spotlights, choir music — which militates against serious thinking about fashion and religion, but up at the Cloisters, by far the strongest third of the show, you can commune more peacefully with an immaculate Balenciaga wedding gown or a divine Valentino gown embroidered with Cranach’s Adam and Eve. (Farago)

‘THE JIM HENSON EXHIBITION’ at the Museum of the Moving Image. The rainbow connection has been established in Astoria, Queens, where this museum has opened a new permanent wing devoted to the career of America’s great puppeteer, who was born in Mississippi in 1936 and died, too young, in 1990. Henson began presenting the short TV program “Sam and Friends” before he was out of his teens; one of its characters, the soft-faced Kermit, was fashioned from his mother’s old coat and would not mature into a frog for more than a decade. The influence of early variety television, with its succession of skits and songs, runs through “Sesame Street” and “The Muppet Show,” though Henson also spent the late 1960s crafting peace-and-love documentaries and prototyping a psychedelic nightclub. Young visitors will delight in seeing Big Bird, Elmo, Miss Piggy and the Swedish Chef; adults can dig deep into sketches and storyboards and rediscover some old friends. (Farago)

‘HISTORY REFUSED TO DIE: HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SOULS GROWN DEEP FOUNDATION GIFT’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (through Sept. 23). This inspired foundation is dispersing around 1,200 works by black self-taught artists from the American South to museums across the country. The Met’s exhibition of 29 of the 57 pieces it received proposes an exciting broadening of postwar art. It is dominated by the dialogue between the rough-hewed relief paintings of Thornton Dial and the geometrically, chromatically brilliant quilts of the Gee’s Bend collective. But much else chimes in, including works by Purvis Young, Joe Minter and Lonnie Holley. (Roberta Smith)

‘ALEJANDRO G. IÑÁRRITU: CARNE Y ARENA’ at 1611 Benning Road NE, Washington (through Aug. 31, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.). Perhaps the most technically accomplished endeavor yet in virtual reality — but closer in form to immersive live theater, created by a two-time Oscar winner — has arrived at a former church in Washington after outings in Cannes, Milan, Los Angeles and Mexico City. In “Carne y Arena” (“Flesh and Sand”), you explore the exhibition on your own with a motion-sensitive headset that transports you to Mexico’s border with the United States; brutal encounters with border guards interweave with surreal dream sequences, which you can perceive in three dimensions. The characters are computer renderings of the bodies of actual migrants; the landscapes are photographed by Mr. Iñárritu’s brilliant longtime cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki. It remains too early to say whether virtual reality will reshape art institutions, but this is a rare achievement, and not only for its political urgency. Tickets will be released only on the website at 8 a.m. Eastern Time on the 1st and 15th of each month of the exhibition’s duration. (Farago)

‘THE INCOMPLETE ARAKI’ at the Museum of Sex (through Aug. 31). It remains a bit of a tourist trap, but the for-profit Museum of Sex is making its most serious bid yet for artistic credibility with a two-floor exhibition of Japan’s most prominent and controversial photographer. Nobuyoshi Araki has spent decades shooting Tokyo streetscapes, blossoming flowers and, notably, women trussed up in the baroque rope bondage technique known as kinbaku-bi, or “the beauty of tight binding.” Given the venue, it’s natural that this show concentrates on the erotic side of his art, but less lustful visitors can discover an ambitious cross section of Mr. Araki’s omnivorous photography, including his lastingly moving “Sentimental Journey,” picturing his beloved wife, Yoko, from honeymoon to funeral. (Farago)

first comprehensive survey of the Congolese artist is a euphoric exhibition as utopian wonderland, featuring his fantasy architectural models and cities — works strong in color, eccentric in shape, loaded with enthralling details and futuristic aura. Mr. Kingelez (1948-2015) was convinced that the world had never seen a vision like his, and this beautifully designed show bears him out. (Smith)

‘LIKE LIFE: SCULPTURE, COLOR AND THE BODY (1300 TO NOW)’ at the Met Breuer (through July 22). Taking a second run at the splashy theme-show extravaganza, the Met Breuer has greater success. This one is certainly more coherent since it centers entirely on the body and its role in art, science, religion and entertainment. It gathers together some 120 sculptures, dolls, artist’s dummies, effigies, crucifixes and automatons. Many are rarely lent and may not return anytime soon. (Smith)

works by artists 45 and older who have just kept on keeping on, regardless of attention or reward, sometimes saving the best for last. Art here is an older person’s game, a pursuit of a deepening personal vision over innovation. Winding through 17 galleries, the installation is alternatively visually or thematically acute and altogether inspiring. (Smith)

‘GEORGIA O’KEEFFE: VISIONS OF HAWAI‘I’ at the New York Botanical Garden (through Oct. 28). Finding out O’Keeffe had a Hawaiian period is kind of like finding out Brian Wilson had a desert period. But here it is: 17 eye-popping paradisal paintings, produced in a nine-week visit in 1939. The paintings, and their almost psychedelic palette, are as fleshlike and physical as O’Keeffe’s New Mexican work is stripped and metaphysical. The other star of the show, fittingly, is Hawaii, and the garden has mounted a living display of the subjects depicted in the artwork. As much as they might look like the products of an artist’s imagination, the plants and flowers in the Enid Haupt Conservatory are boastfully real. On Aloha Nights every Saturday in June and every other Saturday in July and August, the garden is staging a cultural complement of activities, including lei making, hula lessons and ukulele performances. (William L. Hamilton)

‘PAINTED IN MEXICO, 1700-1790: PINXIT MEXICI’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (through July 22). Most religious art is visual theater, none more so than the great Roman Catholic church paintings of 18th-century Mexico, which are at the center of this extraordinary exhibition, one of the high points of the season. Only within the past few decades has Spanish colonial art been awarded anything like center-stage status, and for reasons of unfamiliarity alone, the show is not to be missed. However, the real attraction is drama. You don’t have to be religious to respond to a painterly tour de force like “Apotheosis of the Eucharist” by Rodriguez Juarez, which, like an organ chord, opens the show. Commissioned for the convent of Corpus Christi in Mexico City, the work’s inspiration was as much political as devotional. (The convent was founded for Indian women of noble birth, at a time when “noble” and “Indian” were mutually exclusive concepts in much of Europe.) But what most matters about it now — and surely did when it was new — is its visionary imagery: the swirling clouds, the fainting saints, the angel-borne host that beams like a high-power flashlight. The show also features unforgettable portraits and cityscapes, though heaven remains the focal point. (Holland Cotter)
212-535-7710, metmuseum.org

50-year view of a major American artist’s career, this exhibition is also an image-altering event for MoMA itself. It makes the museum feel like a more life-engaged institution than the formally polished one we’re accustomed to. For the first time it has given over all of its sixth-floor special exhibition space to a single living female artist who is best known for her art about racism, and for good reason: It’s powerful work, brilliantly varied in form. She has also consistently used her own image in inventive, distanced, self-mocking ways, as in two well-known self-likenesses done several years apart: one, a pencil drawing titled “Self-Portrait Exaggerating My Negroid Features” (1981); the other, a crayon-enhanced photograph called “Self-Portrait as a Nice White Lady” (1995). In these images, as in all of her work, her aim is not to assert racial identity but to destabilize the very concept of it. (Cotter)

‘RENOIR: FATHER AND SON/PAINTING AND CINEMA’ at Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia (through Sept. 3). Jean Renoir transformed the history of cinema with humanistic, precisely edited films like “The Grand Illusion,” and especially “The Rules of the Game” — considered one of the greatest films ever made, though it was a box-office flop on its release in 1939. Yet the critic he strove most to please was his father, the Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir. This terrific dad-and-lad exhibition, organized with Paris’s Musée d’Orsay, interweaves painting and cinema into a heartfelt survey of Jean Renoir’s career, and finds paternal influence in the pastoral romance of “A Day in the Country” or the bright landscapes of his 1959 color film “Picnic on the Grass.” The irony? It is Jean Renoir who now seems the more inventive artist, even if he was convinced that “I have always imitated my father.” (Farago)

‘SCENES FROM THE COLLECTION’ at the Jewish Museum. After a surgical renovation to its grand pile on Fifth Avenue, the Jewish Museum has reopened its third-floor galleries with a rethought, refreshed display of its permanent collection, which intermingles 4,000 years of Judaica with modern and contemporary art by Jews and gentiles alike — Mark Rothko, Lee Krasner, Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman and the excellent young Nigerian draftswoman Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze. The works are shown in a nimble, nonchronological suite of galleries, and some of its century-spanning juxtapositions are bracing; others feel reductive, even dilettantish. But always, the Jewish Museum conceives of art and religion as interlocking elements of a story of civilization, commendably open to new influences and new interpretations. (Farago)

‘THE SENSES: DESIGN BEYOND VISION’ at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (through Oct. 28). There’s a serious, timely big idea at this exhibition: As social media, smartphones and virtual reality make us ever more “ocularcentric,” we have taken leave of our nonvisual senses — and need to get back in touch, literally. Thus “The Senses” features multisensory adventures such as a portable-speaker-size contraption that emits odors, with titles like “Surfside” and “Einstein,” in timed combinations; hand-painted scratch-and-sniff wallpaper (think Warhol’s patterned cows but with cherries — cherry-scented, naturally); and a device that projects ultrasonic waves to simulate the touch and feel of virtual objects. The show also presents commissions, videos, products and prototypes from more than 65 designers and teams, some of which address sensory disabilities like blindness and deafness, including Vibeat, which can be worn as a bracelet, brooch or necklace and translates music into vibrations. And if you bring the kids, they will likely bliss out stroking a wavy, fur-lined installation that makes music as you rub it. (Michael Kimmelman)

‘CHAIM SOUTINE: FLESH’ at the Jewish Museum (through Sept. 16). The Russian Jewish artist Chaim Soutine (1893-1943), who spent most of his life in Paris, is best known for bloody, ecstatic paintings of beef carcasses. But it wasn’t death that interested him — it was the immaterial life force of the material world. Along with an instructive lineup of naked fowl, silver herring and popeyed sardines, this indispensable tribute to the transcendent but still undervalued painter centers on a stupendous 1925 “Carcass of Beef,” glistening scarlet, streaked with orange fat and straddling a starry sky. (Will Heinrich)

‘THROUGH A DIFFERENT LENS: STANLEY KUBRICK PHOTOGRAPHS’ at the Museum of the City of New York (through Oct. 28). This exhibition of the great director’s photography is essentially Kubrick before he became Kubrick. Starting in 1945, when he was 17 and living in the Bronx, he worked as a photographer for Look magazine, and the topics that he explored are chestnuts so old that they smell a little moldy: lovers embracing on a park bench as their neighbors gaze ostentatiously elsewhere, patients anxiously awaiting their doctors appointment, boxing hopefuls in the ring, celebrities at home, pampered dogs in the city. It probably helped that Kubrick was just a kid, so instead of inducing yawns, these magazine perennials struck him as novelties, and he in turn brought something fresh to them. Photographs that emphasize the mise-en-scène could be movie stills: a shouting circus executive who takes up the right side of the foreground while aerialists rehearse in the middle distance, a boy climbing to a roof with the city tenements surrounding him, a subway car filled with sleeping passengers. Looking at these pictures, you want to know what comes next. (Arthur Lubow)

This exhibition makes evident both the great beauty and the deep disturbance of those connections — East Africa was a nodal point on the international slave trade. (Cotter)

Last Chance

‘CÉZANNE PORTRAITS’ at the National Gallery of Art, Washington (through July 8). With some 60 likenesses by a notoriously testy, people-aversive artist-rebel, this is the largest gathering of its kind in a century. (The last one was in Paris in 1910.) You’ll know most of the players by type, if not by name. Cézanne himself, in self-portraits, is very present, looking alternately feral and professorial. So is his mate of nearly 40 years, Hortense Fiquet, who sits with her hands knotted in her lap and a lifetime of impatient patience inscribed on her face. A few celebrities are on hand. Emile Zola, Cézanne’s childhood friend in Aix en Provence and an aesthetic brother in arms, reclines on a cushion, a Buddha in beige gabardine. And there are portraits of farmers and domestic workers that Cézanne painted in the decade before his death, at 67, in 1906, by which time the rebel had become a devout Roman Catholic and vehement Provençal nativist. A fascinating mix of painting and biography, the show has just a little more than a week to run, so if you’re going to catch it, which I seriously recommend, the time is now. (Cotter)

‘GUTAI: 1954-59’ at Fergus McCaffrey Gallery (through June 30). This extraordinary exhibition of over 70 works transports us to the early, most innovative years of the Gutai group, the leading avant-gardists of postwar Japan. At every turn we see forward-looking artwork — especially paintings — that incorporate unusual materials and aspects of performance, and sense the speed with which the Gutai took possession of the latest ideas from the United States and Europe, often thanks to indigenous traditions like calligraphy. The show is the latest example of history being rewritten before our eyes. Jackson who? (Smith)

‘THE METROPOLIS IN LATIN AMERICA, 1830-1930’ at Americas Society (through June 30). Fans of Latin American architecture are overly besotted with the modernist era: Luis Barragán’s color-saturated houses in Mexico City, Oscar Niemeyer’s cutting-edge presidential palace in Brasília. But this eye-opening exhibition turns the clock back 100 years and shows how six cities — Buenos Aires; Havana; Lima, Peru; Mexico City; Rio de Janeiro; and Santiago, Chile — used architecture and urban design to express new national ambitions. Vintage photographs disclose how in Mexico’s sprawling capital its new republican government erected statues of Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec emperor, while Argentina plowed out lordly avenues in imitation of Haussmann-era Paris. All these cities had keen architectural ambitions, though if you have to pick the most sophisticated, it’s Rio in a landslide. Stare at Marc Ferrez’s jaw-dropping 1895 panoramic photograph of the erstwhile Brazilian capital, with Sugarloaf Mountain looming over Botafogo and Flamengo, and book the next flight. (Farago)