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Mary Heilmann

Best New York Exhibitions: Mary Heilmann, Turiya Adkins, and More

As New York City’s galleries continue to push boundaries and inspire dialogue, they remind us of the transformative power of art in all its forms.

As the spring sun breathes life into New York City’s streets, its galleries burst with a vibrancy of their own, showcasing a plethora of exhibitions that define the zeitgeist of contemporary art. This season, the best New York exhibitions highlight the dynamic range of artistic expression, featuring luminaries and emerging voices alike. From Mary Heilmann’s chromatic explorations at Hauser & Wirth to the compelling textile narratives of Diedrick Brackens at Jack Shainman, the thought-provoking group exhibition at Friedman Benda, the playful homage to Francis Picabia at David Lewis, and the poignant works of Turiya Adkins at Hannah Traore, the spring season’s art scene is a testament to creativity’s unyielding spirit.

Mary Heilmann: Daydream Nation

Hauser & Wirth

Gallery Images Mary Heilmann at Hauser & Wirth NYC Spring 2024 Installation view of Mary Heilmann’s “Daydream Nation” at Hauser & Wirth, © Mary Heilmann, photo by Sarah Muehlbauer, courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth and 303 Gallery, New York.

2 May–26 July 2024

542 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10011

Mary Heilmann’s “Daydream Nation” exhibition opened this spring and is a masterclass in color and form. Her oeuvre, characterized by vibrant hues and geometric abstraction, continues to evolve while maintaining a cohesive visual language. Heilmann’s work often blurs the boundaries between painting and sculpture, inviting viewers to engage with her pieces on multiple levels.

The show at Hauser & Wirth delves into Heilmann’s exploration of memory and place, with each piece acting as a portal to her past experiences. The canvases, adorned with bold colors and playful shapes, exude an energy that is both nostalgic and forward-looking. Her use of color is not just decorative but deeply emotive, creating a dialogue between the viewer and the artwork that is intimate and expansive. This exhibition reaffirms Heilmann’s position as a pivotal figure in contemporary art, whose work continues to inspire and challenge perceptions.

What we loved: The show features rarely presented and unseen works dating from 1970 to early 2000 that depict Heilmann’s usage of drawing as an exploratory daydream tool.

Diedrick Brackens: blood compass

Jack Shainman Gallery

Installayion view, Diedrick Brackens, blood compass, 2024, Spring Installation view of Diedrick Brackens’ “blood compass,” © Diedrick Brackens, photo by Dan Bradica Studio, courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery.

April 25 – June 1, 2024

46 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013

At Jack Shainman Gallery, Diedrick Brackens presents a body of work that intertwines personal history with broader cultural narratives through the medium of textile. Brackens’ tapestries are rich in symbolism, drawing from African American and queer histories to weave stories that are both personal and universal.

Brackens’ technique, which involves traditional weaving methods, is meticulous and meditative, resulting in works that are as intricate in design as they are in meaning. Each piece is a tapestry of emotions, textures, and colors, with figures and patterns emerging from the fabric like specters of history. His work addresses themes of identity, trauma, and resilience, with a particular focus on the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality.

What we loved: “blood compass” debuts entirely new pieces that not only showcase Brackens’ technical prowess but also his ability to convey profound narratives through the deceptively simple act of weaving.

Everyone Loves Picabia

David Lewis Gallery

Everyone Loves Picabia at David Lewis Spring 2024 Installation view of “Everyone Loves Picabia,” photo by Phoebe d’Heurle, image courtesy of David Lewis.

May 3–July 19, 2024

57 Walker St, New York, NY 10013

David Lewis Gallery’s “Everyone Loves Picabia” is a celebration of the iconoclastic spirit of Francis Picabia. This exhibition brings together a diverse group of 24 artists whose work resonates with Picabia’s radical approach to art. Known for his irreverence and eclectic style, Picabia defied categorization, and this show reflects that same anarchic energy.

The exhibition features a range of mediums and styles, from painting and sculpture to installation and video, each piece a testament to Picabia’s lasting influence. The participating artists, though varied in their practices, share a common thread of pushing boundaries and challenging conventions. The result is a dynamic and eclectic display that pays homage to Picabia’s legacy while carving out new paths in contemporary art. This show is a reminder of the importance of artistic freedom and the enduring power of rebellion in the creative process.

What we loved: “Everyone Loves Picabia” celebrates both the legacy of dadaist Picabia and the gallery’s tenth anniversary.

Turiya Adkins: More Than a Notion

Hannah Traore Gallery

Turiya Adkins at Hannah Traore Gallery spring 2024 nyc Turiya Adkins, “How to Marshal All My Love,” 2023, 37.5 x 48.5 inches, acrylic, india ink and colored pencil on canvas; courtesy of the artist and Hannah Traore Gallery.

April 5June 1

150 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

Turiya Adkins’ exhibition at Hannah Traore Gallery is a poignant exploration of identity and transformation. Adkins’ work, which spans painting, photography, and mixed media, delves into the complexities of selfhood, particularly within the context of the African diaspora.

Adkins’ pieces are deeply personal, often incorporating elements of her own history and experiences. Her use of vivid colors and layered textures creates a sense of depth and movement, reflecting the multifaceted nature of identity. The works on display are a testament to the artist’s journey of self-discovery and her commitment to exploring themes of heritage, memory, and change. This exhibition is not just a showcase of Adkins’ artistic talent but also a powerful commentary on the ongoing quest for self-understanding and expression.

What we loved: In her works, Adkins integrates organic features of African American folktales, including salt and corn, to echo the physical aspects of her broader inspiration.

Spring Group Show: Under Present Conditions

Friedman Benda

Group Show at Friedman Benda spring 2024 Installation view of “Under the Present Conditions,” photo by Izzy Leung, courtesy of Friedman Benda.

May 2–June 15, 2024

515 W 26th St, New York, NY 10001

Friedman Benda’s spring group show is a vibrant tapestry of contemporary artistic practices, featuring a diverse array of artists who challenge and expand the boundaries of their mediums. The gallery presents visitors with a curated dialogue between different forms and ideas, showcasing the intersections of design, art, and craft.

Each artist in the show brings a unique perspective, from the conceptual to the tangible, creating a rich and varied visual experience. The works range from sculptural pieces that explore form and materiality to installations that question societal norms and structures. This exhibition is a microcosm of the contemporary art world, highlighting the diversity of thought and expression that defines it. It’s a space where innovation meets tradition, and where new narratives are continuously being forged.

What we loved: With participation of artists from countries all over the world, “Under Present Conditions” converges a plethora of different approaches to the contemporary design world.

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